This week I’m offering up a tasty treat to celebrate the abundance of citrus-laden lemon trees in the Valley. It’s a Lemon Cream Loaf Cake and I found it in a cookbook called Old Favorite Recipes from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s super moist and if you’re a lemon lover, this sweet and tangy loaf cake will definitely satisfy. I don’t know what’s more enticing or intoxicating – the fragrance of Arizona’s spring citrus blossoms or a lemon pie loaf coming out of the oven. The both have a peel!
Would a girl like me, who loves to shake things up in the kitchen, pass up a recipe with a name like Earthquake Cake? Not a chance! It’s recipes like this that I hope to run across every time I buy old recipe boxes at antique stores. Sadly, more and more stores are discarding the recipes and just selling the boxes. But I’ll travel miles out of my way, hoping to find that over-stuffed, often disorganized, box of recipe treasures. Those were somebody’s go-to recipes, and many of them are now mine. It was in one of these old toll-painted, scuffed up boxes that I found a dessert that shook the earth and sent shockwaves through me… okay, that’s a little dramatic. But, actually, Earthquake Cake, I discovered, is fantastic tasting and a lot of fun to make because the center sinks and the sides rise, and in the end, it all mixes together into an ooey, gooey volcano of chocolate goodness!
In researching the Earthquake Cake, I found that it was categorized as a convenient “back of the box” cake and that had many recipes call for German Chocolate cake mix in the batter. Since the version in my old recipe box had “one rich chocolate cake mix” written on it, that’s what I opted for. But I think either a German Chocolate or regular chocolate cake mix would work just as well – it’s just a matter of personal preference. It goes together very easily – just a simple layering of ingredients. Finally, here’s your early Earthquake warning: as you watch the cake bake, it may look like a wreck as it shifts and bubbles over itself. But I can tell you one thing: you won’t find a fault with this lost and found Earthquake Cake.
It’s said to have come from the Yiddish word “rugel,” meaning royal. Rolled out, delicate dough filled with a variety of ingredients, Rugelach (pronounced Ru-ga-Lach) has grown in popularity from a Jewish specialty, baked during the holidays, to an American favorite, enjoyed all year long. It seems as though every country has its own version and name for Rugelach, and there are hundreds of recipe variations for this bite-sized goody. For the dough, sour cream or cream cheese is added to the flour which makes for flavorful dough that’s extremely easy to work with. These morsels are generally filled with ingredients like sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, chocolate, or preserves with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Again, there are a number of ways to roll and cut Rugelach, but the classic shapes are crescents or slightly flattened squares. I know that Rugelach was baked up en masse for the Hanukkah celebration which ended last Thursday, but there are plenty of chances in the days ahead to make, bake, and deliver these delicious and delicate gifts from the kitchen for the holidays ahead!