Posts filed under ‘Desserts’

Crumb Cake

crumb cake1

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed (that’s 1 & 1/4 sticks)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sour dairy (buttermilk, full-fat plain yogurt, sour cream, or see note below*)
1 egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon

crumb cake2

Preheat oven to 350°F

Prepare a 9-inch cake pan, spring-form, or 9×9 square pan by greasing and flouring well

In a food processor combine flour, sugar, and salt
add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs
set aside 1 cup of mixture for later use for crumb topping

In a large bowl dumb the flour, butter, and sugar
add the baking powder and baking soda
add the dairy, egg, and vanilla and mix until smooth (I guess you can use an electric hand mixer, but it’s easy enough to combine by hand)
the batter should be very thick
spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top

Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture
toss with a fork until well blended
sprinkle the crumbs over the batter

Bake about 45-55 minutes
the cake until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

Cool cake for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan

* DIY sour milk: add 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice to 3/4 cups whole milk, stir, and let stand approximately 5 minutes to curdle.

Recipe adapted from one shown on America’s Test Kitchen.

May 24, 2020 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

Swirled Sesame Tea Cake


This recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine was a recommendation, and a damn good one! The only ingredient I didn’t have was the black sesame seeds, which creates the swirl. Next time there will definitely be a visible swirl. The only real change I’ve made, aside from simplifying the step-by-step procedure a little, was to reduce the amount of salt to a healthy pinch. 

white sesame seeds, for garnish
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, finely ground (reserve some whole for garnish)
1 cup sugar, plus some for garnish
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plain full-fat yogurt
1/2 cup tahini
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil

Preheat your oven to 350°F
prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper, greased and sprinkle with sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and baking soda and set aside

Combine yogurt and tahini (you’ll need a hand mixer for this to combine well)

With an electric mixer, either standing or hand, beat eggs, vanilla, and sugar until light and fluffy
stream in oils slowly
reduce the speed and add a third of the flour mixture
and then a third of the yogurt mixture
alternating two more times
mix to combine well

Add half the batter to the loaf pan
add the ground sesame seeds to leftover batter in bowl, mixing well
add dollops over batter in loaf pan
gently swirl together with a skewer or chopstick

Sprinkle top with reserved sesame seeds and sugar

Bake 50-60 minutes
If the top browns too quickly, gently cover pan with foil

Cool in pan for 10 minutes

March 22, 2020 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Sweet Red Bean Mochi – A small batch


aka Chapssaltteok, Daifuku, 大福

1 can prepared sweet red bean paste

1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well
cover bowl with plastic wrap
microwave for 4 minutes on high
stir vigorously to combine well after 2 minutes, then again when done
let it cool for 10-15 minutes

Prepare the bean paste (or ice cream) for encasing
spoon out individual amounts of filling (I like teaspoon-sized balls for red bean paste and tablespoon for ice cream)

Place in the freezer while the dough is prepared

Turn the dough out onto a cornstarch-dusted surface
flatten well to desired thickness with a rolling pin coated in cornstarch
cut out circles with a biscuit cutter

Place balls of filling in center of dough circle
pinch edges together to seal
roll mochi in cornstarch, brushing off excess

Makes 6-8 mochi.
Leftover red bean paste freezes well, ready for the next batch.

March 11, 2020 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment

Galette des Rois – Half-size version


aka the Louisiana King Cake or the Spanish roscón de reyes bread

Usually served on Epiphany, January 6. This dessert often includes a small prize called a fève, hidden inside the filling, the lucky guest who finds the fève becomes the “king” or “queen”.

My parents, who both live with me now, expressed disappointment that galettes were not readily available after the holidays in CA, so I made it happen.

1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed
1 dried fava bean, an optional small prize called a fève (optional)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Thaw one sheet puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 425°F

(makes enough for two half-size galettes and freezes well)
Combine almond meal, granulated sugar, 1 egg, butter, vanilla, flour, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, blend until a smooth paste forms
set aside

Roll out a sheet of puff pastry to thin slightly and form into a rectangle
cut in half the long way
place one half on a parchment-lined baking sheet
cover it in an even layer of almond cream, leave a 1/2 inch border
(now is time to nestle the fève in the almond cream if you want)

Brush the edge with water
lay the second half of puff pastry on top of the first
crimp the edge with fingers and a fork or knife to seal well
bake for 15 minutes
dust the cake with the powdered sugar and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until the puff pastry becomes a deep golden brown

Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before serving

February 3, 2020 at 10:16 pm 2 comments

Pecan Pie – A small batch


Since it was the filling I was testing, I chose to use store-bought pie crust this time around. Half a sheet, divided into three, for the 5-inch pie plates used here. The pie dough was pushed into the plates using my finger tips, no need to roll out the dough. And yes, I plan to revisit a small-batch pie dough recipe at a later date.

1/4 cup corn syrup
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F

Mix together corn syrup, egg, sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla
stir in the pecans
pour filling over crust
place pies on a baking sheet
bake for 30 minutes
remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours

December 22, 2019 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake


aka Kladdkaka

This cake has a very similar consistency to brownies, but different enough to be enjoy on its own. =)

1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
extra butter or oil for greasing the pan (I just use the wrapper from the stick of butter)
extra cocoa powder for coating the greased pan

Preheat the oven to 350°F

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until the mixture is pale yellow in color (I’d use a hand mixer)
sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt (I’m usually not fussy, but cocoa powder tends to be lumpy, so don’t skip this step)
fold until fully incorporated
mix in the butter and vanilla

Grease the cake pan and sprinkle cocoa powder to coat
pour in batter and smooth out (batter should be pretty thick)

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes
Once the top hardens it’s kinda hard to tell if the center is done enough or not, so some trial and error will have to happen. The 9 inch aluminum cake pan (shown) was perfect at 20 minutes, but the one I made last night in a pyrex pie plate was under done.

Garnish with powdered sugar, berries, ice cream, and/or whipped cream.

Note: This batter is very forgiving. I removed 1/2 cup of batter to bake in a smaller pan (pictured) and the baked consistency was the same as the larger version. So, I’m concluding that the batter can be easily divided to make smaller-batches then frozen.

December 16, 2019 at 6:53 pm 2 comments

Asian-style Baked Egg Custard Buns – A small batch

bun 1

More dim sum favorites. I was skeptical when I read a small-batch custard recipe that was made in a microwave. But to my surprise, it worked perfectly the first time. If you are wary, then by all means, the custard can be done on the stove top.

1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Combine flour, sugar, yeast, warm water, and melted butter
mix to combined, the dough will be a shaggy mess at this point

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface
knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes
allow dough to rise in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 hour or until doubled

bun 2

Custard filling
1 whole egg
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Whisk egg and sugar together
mix in flour and cornstarch
add milk, salt, and vanilla extract
whisk well to remove the lumps

Cover bowl with plastic wrap
heat in a microwave oven on high for 3 minutes total
whisk well after every minute
cover and cool before use

Makes 1 cup of pastry cream

Preheat the oven to 400℉

Punch down dough and knead briefly, about 5 minutes
roll the dough into a log
divide the dough into 4 portions
flatten and shape each portion into circles
spoon about a 1/4 cup of prepared custard filling into the middle of the flattened dough
gathering the edges together and gently twist to seal
place the bun, sealed-side down onto baking sheet
brush buns with egg wash

bun 3

Immediately after putting baking sheet in the oven, reduce the heat to 350℉ for 20-25 minutes, or until buns are golden brown

These freeze and defrost beautifully. Once fully cooled, wrap in plastic and store in the freezer.

July 24, 2019 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Crunch – A small batch


This sweet treat which is taking the internet by storm this Passover season, is a riff on Christmas Crack but with matzoh, obviously. And per the interwebz can easily be altered for the Kosher or vegan cooks among us.

3 sheets unsalted matzohs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
big pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toppings, which are optional (chopped nuts, sprinkles, sesame seeds, coconut, drizzled white chocolate)

Line a rimmed 11×17 baking sheet with foil

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

Place the matzoh in the lined baking pan, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces

In a 3-4 quart saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together
cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil
boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh
working quickly, spread the caramel with a heatproof spatula

Put the pan in the oven
bake for 15 minutes
keep an eye on it and do not let the caramel brown or burn

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips
let stand for a few minutes, then spread the melted chips with an offset spatula


Then sprinkle the melted chocolate with the preferred topping

Let cool completely, the break into pieces, storing in an airtight container until ready to serve.

April 8, 2019 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment



So much easier than you’d think. And next time I’m doubling this recipe to see how that works, since I got so many requests for samples.

This dough can be made by hand, but I recommend using a stand mixer if you have one. Makes 2 loaves.

3 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 packet yeast
3 eggs, divided (one egg to be used for the egg wash)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons warm milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine flour, sugar, and yeast
add 2 eggs, milk, and vanilla
mix until the ingredients come together, 2 to 3 minutes
(if the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add a splash of milk or water)

Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time
allow each piece of butter incorporate before adding the next
add salt
mix until combined, about 3 minutes
dough should be smooth and elastic, pulling away from the sides of the bowl
(if dough does not pull away from the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time)

Place dough in a greased bowl
cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2  hours
once dough has risen, refrigerate for 30 minutes
(this dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight)


Chocolate filling
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch kosher salt

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter for a minute on high
when chocolate butter mixture is melted whisk until smooth
then whisk in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and salt
let cool to room temperature before using

Brown sugar cinnamon filling
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1/2 cup raisins, optional

Combine the ingredients and mix well to combine
set aside and let cool to room temperature

Fruit filling
1 cup jam or preserves
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine and cook for 3 minutes in the microwave
mix well to combine
allow to cool completely before spreading
use it with the chocolate filling or on its own


Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper

Punch dough down and work for a few turns on a floured surface
divide dough in half
roll half of dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle
brush edges of dough with egg wash
spread each rectangle with half of desired filling
leaving approximately a 1-inch border on long sides of dough
roll the dough jelly-roll style on a short side
press edge to seal
with a sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise
twist dough pieces around each other, and place in prepared pan, cut sides up
now do the second half of the dough

Place prepared pans on a baking sheet
cover loosely with a kitchen towel
let rise until doubled in size, about an 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Preheat oven to 350°F
bake for 30 minutes
then tent with foil
bake 30 minutes more

Allow loaves to cool before slicing.

March 6, 2019 at 5:01 pm Leave a comment

Lemon Yogurt Cake


Lots of recipes for this cake online these days. I’ve simplified and tweaked my mother’s original French recipe. “How so?’ you ask. I’ve lessened the amount of sugar, feel free to add up to a cup. I chose not to glaze it. And I did not separate the eggs, beating the whites to stiff peaks, folding them into the rest of the batter. I like the texture as baked here.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350°F

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt
in another bowl whisk together eggs, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and oil
add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until well combined

Pour batter into to greased loaf pan
bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of loaf comes out clean

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes
then transfer to a rack to completely cool to room temperature

January 30, 2019 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

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