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!
It’s so simple, it’s silly. It’s so scrumptious, it’s sinful.
This 4-ingredient Peanut Butter Pie is frozen fun in a pie shell.
The creation of it came together quite by accident.
Recently, on vacation (when antiquing is a must), I came across an entirely hand-written recipe book called Rose’s Rotary Recipes.
The title page simply said District 545. No city, no town, no state. A little research revealed that District 545 was reclassified in 1987 as District 5450 located in North Eastern Colorado. So now we know Rose’s home base.
Anyway, Rose’s Rotary Recipes is loaded with many of the potluck favorites of days gone by. In the dessert section, I came across Peanut Butter Pie that called for 8 ounces of cream cheese, 2 cups of powdered sugar, peanut butter, milk, cool whip, and a graham cracker crust.
Would Rose mind if I altered the recipe, since I didn’t have cream cheese or milk?
I decided to give it a try with an Oreo Chocolate ready-made pie shell instead of the graham cracker crust and was overjoyed at the results. Since I didn’t use cream cheese, there was no need for 2 cups of powdered sugar, so I reduced it to one tablespoon. Because the pie only took about 5 minutes to make, I decided to make a cherry pie version using the same method.
It’s now one of my favorite quick and easy treats and definitely a crowd pleaser.
Rose, if I’m ever near District 5450 in Colorado, I’ll look you up and apologize in person. (Included below is the original Peanut Butter Pie recipe from Rose’s Rotary Recipes.)
Is it one of the most Googled recipes? At last check, there were 563,000 sites for Red Velvet Cake, with it’s dramatic, deep burgundy layers of chocolate decadence. That’s a lot of places to search for the signature sweet that originated in the 1920’s at America’s grand hotel of luxury and elegance, the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
But you can quit clicking, because we have the original right here.
It’s not the version that’s loaded with tons of red food coloring and very little flavor (you’ll find plenty of those in your search). This is the authentic and luscious Red Velvet Cake right from the Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook, given to us by the hotel’s executive chef, John Doherty (who is, by the way, the youngest chef ever to head the hotel’s three restaurants and exquisite room service, long known as the Waldorf-Astoria’s crown jewels).
But Chef Doherty has been at the helm for more than 20 years now, and has said that despite the attempts around the globe to improve this classic recipe (with little success, red velvet cake aficionados tell him), the hotel continues to serve it in it’s pure form. Chef, we love this cake. Here’s to the next 100 years of Rescuing Red Velvet!