If you’re from Detroit, I hope this column brings you many happy and delicious memories! If you know someone from that area, just ask them about the iconic, fun and fabulous-tasting Bumpy Cake and then sit back and watch them smile. Once you’ve heard of Sanders Bumpy Cake, you may become as obsessed as I am over this decadent chocolate cake with white icing “speed bumps” piped along the top and then covered in a rich and creamy pourable chocolate ganache. Think Hostess Cupcakes, only much more fun and just as tasty. Sanders Bumpy Cake has been around since 1875. Ask anyone from Detroit and they will tell you that this is the go to cake often purchased for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. So get the electric mixer out, and see why this is the ultimate treat for Michiganders, and have a blast going over the speed bumps!
large eggs, room temperature
It was the 1920’s. The place, Chicago, Illinois. Francois and Antoinette Pope made they mark on the culinary scene first with the Antoinette Pope School of Fancy Cookery. Then came the television show hosted by the couple. Finally, their cookbook, The Antoinette Pope School Cookbook. I would never have known about any of this had one of the Pope family members not presented me with a copy of the cookbook. The more I read about the Pope’s, (on line there are even blogs about the cooking duo with comments by the many people who graduated from their school or who have called the cookbook their “go-to” cooking bible), the more fascinated I became with their story. The Crunchy Top Butter Cake is one of the many delightful recipes from an American heritage cookbook that elevated the art of cooking to “Fancy Cookery.”
If you want to bake up a scrumptious Snickerdoodle cookie with that classic soft and chewy texture, there are a couple of tips to get you the best results. First, don’t skimp on the cream of tartar. That’s what gives the Snickerdoodle that twist of tanginess. (If you don’t have it, go buy a nice fresh bottle. You may be making these a lot!) Next, whisking the butter and sugar together for a long time is important because it whips air into the cookie dough, which helps make them soft and chewy. So whisk for at least 5 minutes until light and super fluffy. (Christina Tosi, cookbook author and owner of the award-winning Milk Bar Bakery says that under-whisking the butter and sugar is the biggest mistake home cooks make.) Then, don’t over bake the cookies. You want that chewy center. Finally, roll the dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture twice. The topping here is just as important as the batter. So now, go gather up your room temperature butter, eggs and the rest of the ingredients, because, a day without a Snickerdoodle is just plain crummy!
This season I finally had a chance to scratch one off of my Bucket List. I’ve always wanted to visit New England in the fall. I had always heard that the changing of the leaves is spectacular, and I wanted to be there during the peak week. (Me and everyone else on the planet, I discovered!) While our Sonoran Desert holds its own beauty, brilliant red, yellow and orange leaves are pretty scarce. My trip to Woodstock, Vermont was worth the trip, and while there, I wanted to immerse myself in the New England food scene. That brings me to maple syrup. I couldn’t get enough of it, whether it was on my breakfast pancakes, a delicious ham slathered in a Vermont maple glaze or those iconic maple leaf-shaped candies. I came home with plenty of bottles of syrup which came in handy for this scrumptious holiday Maple Pecan Pie. This time of the year, while pumpkin pie is the go-to, pecan pie is right up there in popularity, and this version is definitely holiday worthy! It starts with a light and flakey crust, the perfect bed for a sweet, nutty and maple syrupy filling. So just in case searching for perfect holiday pies is on your bucket list, this one will not disappoint!