Category Archives: Everyday Cakes

French Apple Cake

French Apple CakeIf you are looking for an apple cake with brown sugar and warming spices, this isn’t the one. (This is.)French Apple CakeIf, however, you’re looking for a buttery, almost custard-like cake with only a teaspoon of vanilla extract to distract from the flavor of tender fresh apples, you’ve come to the right blog.French Apple CakeMeet the French Apple Cake. It’s easy. It’s elegant. It’s French home-baking at its finest.French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThis little cake is perfect for the upcoming holidays (or just any ol’ day) because it requires minimal effort and delivers big time. Also, it requires exactly nine ingredients (ten, if you include the confectioner’s sugar) and there’s an 80% chance you have all of them already.French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThere’s no need to soften any butter either, so you can conceivably have this in the oven in under 20 minutes. You won’t even need to break out your mixer!French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThis beauty bakes up in about 45 minutes, and since it doesn’t require frosting or filling or anything more than a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, it only needs a 15 minute rest before you can release it from its springform and slice it up.French Apple CakeYou read all that correctly. If you crank the oven right now, you can be eating French Apple Cake in 80 minutes.French Apple CakeI’d start moving toward the kitchen, if I were you.French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large baking apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

For serving (optional):
confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Whisk for about 2 minutes, or until uniform in appearance and a bit thick. It will be grainy.

Whisk half the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, followed by half the melted butter. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and butter.

In a small mixing bowl, toss together apple chunks and lemon juice.

Add apples to cake batter and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Scatter remaining tablespoon of sugar over the top. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times before baking for 40-50 minutes, or until golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come back clean or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.French Apple CakeFrench Apple Cake

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Raspberry Coffee Cake

Raspberry Coffee CakeRaspberry Coffee Cake—it’s what’s for breakfast this weekend.Raspberry Coffee Cake
It can also be what’s for mid-morning snack, second breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert. It’s also totally okay to sub a big hunk of it for one meal.* But only on the weekend because vegetables are important. Or something.

*Not a nutritionist, just a coffee cake enthusiast who believes in cake for lunch every once in a while, okay? Okay.Raspberry Coffee Cake
Raspberry Coffee Cake is a summertime spin on the Apple Cider Coffee Cake I made last fall. I’m looking forward to making the apple version again in a few months, but I am all about fresh seasonal berries right now. When I wrote my berry round-up a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked to see how few raspberry recipes I have in my archives, so I went and made a cake that showcases them in all their sweet, tangy glory!Raspberry Coffee CakeRaspberry Coffee CakeRaspberry Coffee Cake
This cake is super moist and delicious. In addition to the 1 1/2 cups of ripe red raspberries, the batter is made with sour cream, whole milk, butter, and a touch of brown sugar—basically, if you can think of an ingredient that makes cake amazing, it’s probably in this recipe.Raspberry Coffee CakeRaspberry Coffee CakeRaspberry Coffee CakeRaspberry Coffee Cake
I know coffee cake crumb qualifies more as an “element” than it does as an ingredient, but this cake has two layers of it and they definitely up the amazingness quotient. While the middle layer sort of melts into the middle of the cake, the stuff on top gets super caramelized and crispy while baking. YUM.Raspberry Coffee Cake
And speaking of baking, because it’s so moist, this cake needs to bake for a while. Like 75-minutes-a-while. The wait will seem eternal, but it will be absolutely worth it because cinnamon-scented cake bursting with raspberries and topped with crunchy crumbs is basically always worth it.Raspberry Coffee Cake
Another great thing? You don’t have to cool this cake completely before you slice into it. I mean, if you want to move it to a serving plate, you’ll want to wait for it to cool, but if it’s just you and family/friends who are family sitting around drinking cold brew and eating Raspberry Coffee Cake on a Saturday afternoon, slice that sucker up anytime you please.Raspberry Coffee Cake

Raspberry Coffee Cake
makes 1 9-inch round cake

Crumb:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Cake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (about 8 ounces)

Garnish:
1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Make the crumb. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in vanilla. Add butter. Use your hands (or a pastry blender) to work butter into dry ingredients until a clumpy but homogenous mixture forms. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line with parchment. Grease parchment with butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg and sour cream; mixture may be a bit lumpy. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the milk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining milk. Use a silicone spatula (or wooden spoon) to fold in raspberries.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Top with half the crumb. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the crumb and gently spread to cover. Scatter remaining crumb over the top. Tap full pan a few times on the countertop to release any large air bubbles. Bake cake for 65-75, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Cake may be served warm or room temperature. If you’d like, let the cake cool completely, invert it and remove the parchment before placing on a serving platter. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.
Raspberry Coffee Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down CakeThere’s just something about Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.Pineapple Upside-Down CakeI don’t know if it’s the buttery cake or the mosaic of canned fruit that I would otherwise never eat or the way the brown sugar glaze caramelizes perfectly during the 50 minute bake time.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePerhaps it’s the way that it somehow straddles the line between Everyday Cake and Celebration Cake.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakeOr that it doesn’t need to cool much after baking and doesn’t need any sort of adornment to make it complete. A scoop of ice cream doesn’t hurt though.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakeMaybe it’s that making one of these beauties lets me channel the TV ghost of June Cleaver. The undeniable retro-ness of this cake nearly has me reaching for my string of pearls.Pineapple Upside-Down Cake(That’s really something, considering that this blog could easily be sponsored by Lululemon, Birkenstock, and ten year old college t-shirts.)Pineapple Upside-Down CakeYep, if I were a cake, this would be the one.Pineapple Upside-Down CakeWhy all this Pineapple Upside-Down Cake love? Well, all the things listed above and because today is National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day. Yes, that’s a thing now. As far as I’m concerned, it’s as good a reason as any to stash a homemade cake in your fridge and snack on it all weekend.Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Topping:
1 20-ounce can pineapple slices in juice
1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup pineapple juice (reserved from topping)
1/2 cup milk (not skim or fat free), room temperature

For serving:
vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a deep 9-inch round cake pan (or a springform). Set aside.

Make the topping. Open the can of pineapple rings and drain the juice into a small bowl. Drain maraschino cherries (or just fish them out of the jar).

In a small saucepan, combine butter and light brown sugar. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted, 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Transfer mixture into prepared pan, using a silicone spatula to spread it over the entire bottom of the pan. Top the brown sugar mixture with a single layer or pineapple and cherries. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Combine pineapple juice, milk, vanilla and almond extracts (if using) in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low, alternate adding dry ingredients and the pineapple juice mixture in two installments. Mix just until combined.

Pour batter over pineapple and cherry layer, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out the top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Depending on the depth of your pan, you may want to place it on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any light overflow of caramel.

Bake cake 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Tent loosely with a layer of foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan a couple of times before inverting onto a cake stand or large serving plate. If any fruit sticks to the pan, just nudge it back onto the cake with your fingers.

Serve cake warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream, if desired.

Cake is best the day it’s baked, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Everyday Chocolate Cake

Everyday Chocolate CakeDo you ever have Chocolate Cake Emergencies? Times when you’ve just had a string of bad days or worked too much, or are in an otherwise foul mood that can only be solved with a bit of chocolate cake?

Everyday Chocolate CakeThis week has just been one big Chocolate Cake Emergency for me. I’m making a couple of big changes and I am a walking, talking ball of stress. Logically, I know that sweets cannot (and will not) fix any of my problems, but on a week like this, they sure can’t hurt.

Everyday Chocolate CakeEveryday Chocolate CakeEnter this Everyday Chocolate Cake: a nine-ingredient one-bowl wonder with no need for layering, frosting, or anything else. There are no difficult-to-find ingredients, unusual methods, or long processes–this is an easy, straightforward recipe with spectacular results. Really, this soft, fluffy, deeply chocolaty dessert is just what I want when a Chocolate Cake Emergency arises.

Everyday Chocolate CakeAs I said before, this cake doesn’t need any sort of adornment; I prefer to eat it by its lonesome or with a light dusting of confectioners sugar. If you want to get a little fancy, I recommend topping a slice with a scoop of ice cream (current favorite: Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Gelato) or drizzling the whole cake with ganache.

I’ll be real with you though–this cake really doesn’t need a thing. In fact, I think its less-is-more approach is what makes it so damn great.Everyday Chocolate Cake

Everyday Chocolate Cake
makes 1 9×5-inch loaf cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (I like Droste)
1 1/2 baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup milk (not skim or nonfat)
confectioners sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla.

Sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix just until combined. Add milk and mix on low until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Tap on counter to release any air bubbles. Bake 38-42 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Run a small, thin knife around the edge before inverting. Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired. Slice and serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Everyday Chocolate Cake

Pear & Cranberry Torte

Updated 11/15/2018 to add better photos.Pear & Cranberry TorteEverybody has their holiday mainstay dish. For some it’s tamales, for others, a glazed ham. For me, it’s this Pear & Cranberry Torte. I found the recipe for a simple cranberry version years ago when I was just learning to bake, and I’ve made it ever since. I made it as written many times, but as I gained more knowledge and confidence in my baking, I made a few adjustments and have had it in my holiday repertoire ever since.Pear & Cranberry TorteWhat’s the difference between a torte and a cake? Besides just sounding fancier than regular cake, tortes are made with minimal to no flour, relying on eggs, sugar, and sometimes leaveners to give them structure. I’ve put one other torte recipe on here, my grain-free version of Molly Wizenberg’s Winning Hearts & Minds Cake. If you or your guests are way into chocolate (or gluten-free!), throw that recipe on your menu.
Pear & Cranberry TorteBut back to today’s torte. It’s a buttery, light vanilla-almond cake full of soft pieces of pear and tart whole cranberries–it definitely tastes like the holidays. Where a lot of holiday desserts are time consuming and require ingredients you don’t use for the other 11 months of the year, this one is simple. With the exception of the pear and the cranberries, you probably have all the ingredients in your home right now.

The cake base comes together in minutes. Cream some butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Beat in a couple of eggs, some vanilla, and a hint of almond extract. Mix in a mixture of flour, baking powder, and salt before spreading the batter into a buttered springform pan. That’s it! Then just dot the top with chunks of pear (you’ll want to use one that’s ripe but not mushy) and scatter on some cranberries. Dust it all with a tablespoon of sugar before baking for 40 minutes or so.Pear & Cranberry TorteOnce baked, Pear & Cranberry Torte has a very rustic appearance. The pieces of pear will buckle into the batter while the cranberries dot the golden brown top crust. The torte may be served warm or at room temperature, and is just as good with whipped cream or a dusting of confectioner’s sugar as it is by its lonesome.

I hope this Pear & Cranberry Torte becomes a holiday mainstay for you. The buttery vanilla-almond cake and seasonal fruit are a delightful end to any holiday meal. And if you’re the kind of person who gives cakes as gifts, this torte is easy to pack and your friends will love it.Pear & Cranberry Torte

Pear & Cranberry Torte
adapted from Lottie & Doof
one 9-inch cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 medium pear, cored, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced (about 1 cup cubes)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until very light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and almond extracts. With the mixer on low, mix in dry ingredients. Batter will be thick.

Spread batter into the prepared pan. Scatter pear pieces and cranberries over the top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle additional tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top. Bake 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge and releasing the springform.

Serve warm or room temperature with whipped cream, if desired.
Pear & Cranberry TortePear & Cranberry Torte