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A rich chocolate bread topped with a generous sprinkle of sea salt, children and adults alike will enjoy this Chocolate Zucchini Bread, or “Chocolate Cake,” for those fearful of veggies!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Disclaimer: Thank you to #Choctoberfest Sponsors  Barleans, The PinterTest Kitchen and our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar for providing prizes for #Choctoberfest free of charge. These companies, as well as sponsors Rodelle and Davis Chocolate also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #Choctoberfest.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet things happen when families are together in the kitchen. When I pull out my sugar jar – which is currently filled to the brim with Imperial Sugar, my kiddos come running. They know that Mommy is going to be making something, and even if they won’t eat it, they’re sure going to help make it. I have memories from baking with my own mother and grandparents and I love the time I spend making those same lifelong memories with my own children. Holidays and every day.

And so, a couple of weeks ago, the sugar jar came out and little feet came running. Out came the flour, Rodelle cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. What are we making, Mommy? Wait for us, we want to help! We set up the ingredients, got each kid propped up on a stool and started measuring and stirring.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

One ingredient remained hidden from my kiddos though. Remember all of that zucchini that I had this summer? Well, some of it ended up shredded and in my freezer for baking at a later date. And one of those bags of zucchini was destined for the recipe the kiddos and I were making. They just didn’t know it.

You see, I love my usual zucchini bread recipe, but the kids won’t touch it because they can see flecks of green. With this bread, the kids can’t see the zucchini. I can call the bread “chocolate cake” and they’ll eat it with no problem. While not the healthiest out there, the little bit of zucchini in each slice is more vegetable they usually get in a day. (Side Note: Can someone please tell me when picky eaters get easier? Anyone? Lies being accepted!) For myself, I added a generous sprinkle of sea salt to the top of the bread, the perfect balance to the sweet, rich chocolate bread.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

HUGE thanks to Imperial Sugar and Rodelle for sponsoring #Choctoberfest! Be sure to scroll down to enter the GIVEAWAY, which includes a ton of sugar and a $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma both from Imperial Sugar, as well as some other goodies. Full giveaway details here.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 Loaf


  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 c. packed shredded zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. Dutch process cocoa powder (I used Rodelle)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more for top
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar (I used Imperial Sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used Rodelle)
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place shredded zucchini in a clean towel or wrap in cheese cloth. Squeeze to get out most of the water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, stir or whisk together eggs, melted butter, canola oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add shredded zucchini, breaking up any large pieces. Stir in dry ingredients. When almost all of the dry ingredients are mixed in but some of the flour mixture remains on the sides and bottom, add 3/4 c. chocolate chips. Continue mixing until chocolate chips are evenly distributed and no more flour is on sides of pan.
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan, spreading as needed with a spoon or spatula and tapping the counter with the pan a few times for dough to settle. Top with remaining 1/4 c. chocolate chips and a generous sprinkling of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out mostly clean. The bread is moist, so it likely won't be complete clean. Don't overbake.
  7. Allow bread to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan and placing on a serving dish.
  8. Store airtight at room temperature.
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This recipe was rewritten but barely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Chocolate Zucchini Bread on Books n' Cooks

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With crisp edges and a moist, flavorful center, we enjoy this sweet apple cake for breakfast, snack, afternoon tea, or dessert.

Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.

Mom's Apple Cake

To finish up #AppleWeek, I’ve brought you a family recipe. I’m not sure where it from, but I don’t think it’s an uncommon recipe. It was pretty similar to another recipe in the cookbook my mom made me, called the Merryfield Apple Cake, but different enough that I have a strong preference towards this particular recipe. Neither my mom or I make it often, so I actually had to call her to ask which recipe I liked. Needless to say, she remembered incorrectly and the first version of this cake – that Merryfield Apple Cake – got nibbled on and then thrown out.

When Mom made this cake, I ate it cake for breakfast, snack and dessert. I remember my mom making it with chocolate chips, but I always loved it plain, so that the sweetness of the apples shone. And they will, especially if you use Rainier Fruit Honeycrisp Apples, which are one of my favorites. To entice my kiddos into eating the cake, I added a generous half a cup of toffee pieces for a bit more sweetness (but don’t worry, in no way did the toffee overpower the apples!). This cake has crisp edges but a soft, moist center.

If you haven’t already seen the giveaway from our fabulous sponsors, head over here to read about the prize packs. Then scroll to the bottom of this post – leave a comment on this post (and any other #AppleWeek post published today) to get an extra entry. Share the giveaway via Twitter for another extra entry.

Mom's Apple Cake

Recipe Notes:

  • While I made this by hand, you can certainly use a handheld or stand mixer. However, I’d recommend folding in fruit and toffee with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula so that the fruit doesn’t get bruised or squashed.
  • Be sure to wash your apples well before using. I used Veggie Wash – an all-natural spray that removes waxes, soil, and fertilizers – to ensure that the apples were well-cleaned
  • Ingredients:
    • Feel free to leave out toffee pieces all together, or swap them for chocolate chips, nuts, or even raisins.
    • I used Rodelle vanilla extract for this recipe. Rodelle vanilla extract has one of the highest percentages of vanillin (a natural flavor element found in vanilla beans) on the market. You can find Rodelle products in several large grocery stores, including Giant, Super Target, Wegmans, Costco, and Sam’s Club. And if you can’t find it there, there’s always Amazon.
    • I used Rainier Fruit organic Honeycrisp apples in this recipe. This is the second time I’ve worked with Rainier Fruit apples – last time, Rainier’s exclusive variety, Lady Alice – and I cannot understate how much we love these apples. Like last time, I had to slap away little hands from eating the apples, before and while we were baking the cake. These sweet apples are a great source of soluble fiber that strengthens the immune system, so I’m more than ok with my kids loving these apples as much as I do. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants that play a role in reducing the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Mom’s Apple Cake

Yield: 9 Servings


  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Rodelle vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced (preferably Honeycrisp apples)
  • 1/2 c. toffee pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x9 glass dish with cooking spray. Lightly flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, oil and egg until thoroughly combined. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Fold in diced apples and toffee pieces.
  3. Pour into prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until top is starting to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool (at least a little bit) before serving.
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Store covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 5 days.

A crispy edge and a moist center, sweet Honeycrisp apples are the star of Mom's Apple Cake. #appleweek @rainierfruit

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To finish off #AppleWeek, we’ve got apple recipes for every occasion. Check out this collection of breakfasts, beverages, appetizers, savory-sweet meals, and desserts.

Apfelstrudel Recipe (Apple Strudel from Scratch) from House of Nash Eats
Apple and Onion Cornbread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Apple Butter Cheesecake from The Redhead Baker
Apple Chicken Stew from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
Apple Cider Dark & Stormy from The Crumby Kitchen
Apple Mincemeat Pie from Palatable Pastime
Apple Pie Bread from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Apple Pie Pancakes from 4 Sons ‘R’ Us
Apple Praline Bread from Family Around the Table
Apple Stuffing Crusted Pork Chops from Caroline’s Cooking
Battered Chocolate Caramel Apple Slices from The Freshman Cook
Caramel Apple Pull Apart Bread from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Apple Crack Slaw Eggrolls from Dad What’s 4 Dinner
Cinnamon Apple Donuts from Daily Dish Recipes
Diminutive Caramel Apples from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Easy Caramel Apple Butter from Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Fast and Easy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip from Cooking With Carlee
Mom’s Apple Cake from Books n’ Cooks
Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples from Simple and Savory
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples from Feeding Big
Savory Apple Turkey Brie Galette from Bear & Bug Eats
Swiss Vegetarian Autumn Lasagna With Apples & Squash from All That’s Jas

Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.








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This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Details on our wonderful sponsors, the prizes they put together for you, and the place to enter to win, here.

In my opinion, a good brunch ends with a tasty dessert. You can never go wrong with homemade cinnamon buns of some sort, like the apple-cinnamon buns from earlier this week. But something I want something a little lighter in flavor. Something just a little bit sweet. Something that cause me to lose complete self-control, because if I’m going to be honest, homemade cinnamon buns do that to me.

Enter: a lemon poppy seed loaf cake. This particular cake is made with Nielsen-Massey’s lemon extract instead of fresh lemon juice and confectioners sugar instead of granulated sugar, giving it a pound cake-like texture and a light, lemon flavor.

This recipe was heavily adapted from Epicurious. The original recipe is a plain cake, made to serve 12-16 people. I’ve adjusted the ratios and added the lemon and poppy seed to create what I consider to be a light ending to your brunches.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Heavily Adapted from Epicurious

Makes 10-12 Slices


  • cooking spray
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 lb. Dixie Crystals confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. Nielsen-Massey lemon extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. + 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 Tbs. poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 325F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle bottom and sides with flour, tapping out extra. Set aside.

Place butter in a large bowl, and beat on medium speed with a handheld mixer (you can use a stand mixer if you prefer) until light and fluffy. Add sugar, beating until incorporated. Add lemon extract and eggs, beating until combined. Repeat with flour. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add poppy seeds and mix one last time.

Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until top is beginning to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan, and returning to baking rack to cool completely.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Blackberry Mint Bellinis from Sweet Beginnings
Cardamom Rose Cocktail from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Lemon & Blueberry Mocktail from Girl Abroad
Mango Pina Colada from The Spiffy Cookie
Sparkling Mojito Lime Rickies from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Cheesy Asparagus Bacon Quiche from The Nifty Foodie
Creamed Asparagus Omelet from Wholistic Woman
Eggs in Hell from kimchi MOM
Asparagus and Cheddar Frittata from My Catholic Kitchen
Spring Veggie Quiche from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Cheddar Cream Cheese Danish from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Apple Cinnamon Bread from It Bakes Me Happy
Gluten Free Apple Waffles from Gluten Free Crumbley
Banana Bread Buttermilk Pancakes from Love and Confections
Blackberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls from Pink Cake Plate
Brown Sugar Poptarts from Big Bear’s Wife
Creme Brulee French Toast from The Barbee Housewife
Cherry Almond Coffee Cake from The Chef Next Door
Cheddar Dinner Rolls from Family Around the Table
Cinnamon Apple Danish from Nik Snacks
Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Bread from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake from Books n’ Cooks

Mocha Eclairs from The Redhead Baker

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Country Ham Biscuits with Peach Mustard from Palatable Pastime
Ham, Apple and Cheddar Melts from Cookaholic Wife
Ham, Egg, and Asparagus Breakfast Pizza Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Shaved Asparagus, Herb Cream Cheese, and Smoked Salmon Pizza from Sarcastic Cooking
Yumbo Sliders from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Rhubarb Crunch from Cooking with Carlee

Biscuit Bar with Flavored Sugars from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Low-Fat Apple Coffee Cake from Hardly A Goddess

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Almond Orange Upside Down Cake

When the February/March issue of Fine Cooking came out, I was immediately drawn to the series on upside-down cakes. Despite being afraid of caramel, I knew that I had to make one of the cakes… the problem was, which one? I settled on the below Orange-Almond Upside-Down Cake but even before I made it, I had to know how the other ones would turn out. I invited my amazing sister-in-law, Lauren, over at Live, Dine, Party to bake one of these cakes along with me.

Lauren started her blog last year to chronicle her adventures in a new home, cooking, and entertaining. Lauren comes from a long line of amazing Italian cooks (ahem, Lauren, you still owe me a ravioli lesson!) and it shows in her food. Today, she’s sharing with you a Cranberry Streusel Upside-Down Cake. I know I just made this cake (two days ago, in fact), but I think Lauren has convinced me to dig that bag of frozen cranberries out of my freezer to give her version a shot.

While Lauren has me drooling over her cake, I was pleased with how my Orange-Almond Upside-Down Cake came out. It was one of the few desserts that I have made that was *really easy* to make look really pretty. I walked by it several times, trying to convince myself that I could dig in. But alas, I brought the cake, untouched, to work. Visually, the cake was impressive. And it tasted fantastic. The almond with the sweet burst of orange juice and the slight bitterness of the peel was an unexpected combination.

Prep Note: There’s a fair bit of prep to this recipe. I don’t mean hours of baking and resting, but a couple extra steps that are best done ahead of time (like toasting and grinding almonds) to make the assembly go quicker. 

Almond Orange Upside Down Cake

Orange-Almond Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 127 (p. 82)

Makes one 9-inch round cake

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 small oranges
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds

Ingredients for the Cake: 

  • 2/3 c. slivered almonds
  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. sour cream, at room temperature

Prep Work:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast the almonds for the cake (2/3 c.) for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet before pulsing in a food processor until finely ground.

Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter again. Set aside.

Zest and juice 1 orange (or, if using large oranges, half an orange). You need 2 tsp. orange zest and 3 Tbs. freshly squeezed orange juice. Set aside.

Slice the remaining 2 oranges, as thin as you can get them. Discard ends. Then cut each slice into quarters. Set aside.

Make the Topping:

In a medium-sized pot, combine butter and sugar over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until caramel is just slightly darker in color than peanut butter. Watch carefully – I have a bad habit of ruining caramel by overcooking it. 🙂 When mixture is a light brown, slowly add orange juice. Stir until bubbling stops and orange juice has been completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and pour immediately into the prepared pan. Allow to sit until cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes.

When cake is cool, arrange orange slices in caramel. Fill in extra spaces with slivered almonds.

Make the Cake:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add orange zest and almond extract until just combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl again and add eggs, one at a time. Add ground almonds, baking powder, and salt. Add half of sour cream, then half of flour. Add remaining sour cream and remaining flour, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Pour batter into pan. Even out top with a spatula, taking care not to disturb the orange and almond slices.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen, and invert onto a serving cake and remove from pan. Allow to cool completely.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

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April 105

I made this cake for my best friend’s bridal luncheon. It was perfect for the occasion – impressive and incredibly indulgent. The cake was rich and chocolatey. It melted in your mouth.

Make Ahead: This cake is best started the day before serving, due to prep times and freezing times. However, the cake and mousse can be made and frozen up to three weeks ahead of time. (See below for details).

American Beauty Cake

Adapted from The Pastry Queen (p. 84-85)

Serves 14-16

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 c. unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. dark rum or Kahlua (optional)

Ingredients for the Milk Chocolate Mousse:

  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. milk chocolate
  • 3 large eggs, separated (into yolks & whites) and then brought to room temperature
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream, chilled

Ingredients for the Dark Chocolate Glaze:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


  • fresh berries (optional)

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Spray bottom and sides of pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a double broiler set over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter. While chocolate and butter are melting, whisk together eggs and sugar.

When chocolate mixture is smooth, remove from heat. Whisk in the egg mixture, a little at a time, until well combined. Stir in vanilla and rum.

Pour mixture into prepared cake pan. Place cake pan in a large roasting or baking pan, and fill with enough hot water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the cake pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until cake is firm to the touch. Remove from oven and roasting pan. Place cake in the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. (Note: Cake rises in the oven but deflates to it’s original size as it cools).

American Beauty Cake

Make the Mousse: In a double broiler set over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low or “stir,” and add vanilla. Slowly add cooled chocolate mixture until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of both and, if needed, mix again. Transfer to a clean bowl.

With a clean bowl and whisk attachment in the stand mixer, whip egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, one-third at a time. Set aside.

Again, with a clean bowl and whisk attachment in the stand mixer, whip heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Pour mousse on top of cooled cake, spreading evenly. Mousse should come to the top of the cake pan. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. (If making ahead, cake can remain in freezer like this for up to 3 weeks).

The day you serve, make the glaze by heating corn syrup, heavy cream, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add chocolate to saucepan. Stir or whisk until smooth. Keep glaze at room temperature so that you can pour it over cake (add more heavy cream if it gets too thick).

Assemble the cake: Remove cake from freezer and unwrap. Dip bottom and sides of pan in hot water to loosen. Invert onto a plate to remove from pan. Invert onto another plate or serving dish again, so that mousse is on top. Pour the glaze over top, ensuring top and sides are completely covered. (Not going to lie, my sides weren’t completely covered, but that’s ok!)

Refreeze until ready to serve. (The Pastry Chef says to cover with plastic wrap when refreezing, but the plastic completely ruined the set of the glaze. If you have a covered cake plate, and room in your freezer, I’d recommend using the covered cake plate, and then wrapping that in plastic wrap, to protect the surface of the cake.)

Garnish with fresh berries just before serving.

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This week, I teamed with Eva over at Eva Bakes to try out another recipe in the drool-worthy, although sometimes daunting, Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I was pretty excited when Eva suggested we make rum cake. It’s something I only make once a year, and although I enjoy it, the recipe I use isn’t exactly baking from scratch.

Besides trying out a new recipe, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to bake along with Eva. While I don’t talk about it much, one of the things I enjoy most about blogging is getting to meet and get to know others who share my passions. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Eva, my Mixed crew, and a fabulous group of bloggers from around the country (and a few even farther!). We don’t just exchange recipes, restaurant recommendations, and favorite books, but we share our families, our careers, our lives. Baking with Eva has been an awesome way not just to compare notes on a new recipe but also to continue to get to know one another.

Rum Cake

And now I remember why I rarely bake anything in bundt cake pans. 🙁

Despite the appearance, the cake actually turned out pretty well. I made the cake and the rum-infused simple syrup (don’t skip it – that’s where much of the flavor comes from). Since my broken cake was going to be turned into a trifle, I skipped the rum icing (listed below) and exchanged it for a rum whipped cream (recipe at the bottom of this post). Overall, the flavor was pretty good, but the almond meal gave the cake a nuttier flavor and a bit grainier texture (perhaps I should have kept it in the food processor longer). While the cake was good, I think I’m still partial to the recipe used in my rum cake cupcakes. I’ll continue to search for the perfect from-scratch rum cake recipe but you should head on over to Eva Bakes to check out Eva’s blog and see what she thought about this Rum Cake recipe.

Thanks for baking with me, Eva!

Rum Cake

Rum Cake

Adapted from The Bouchon Bakery (p. 106)

*** Ingredient estimates in parenthesis are provided to ensure that you have enough of the ingredients. Please don’t use them when making the cake – weigh out each ingredient with a kitchen scale!!! ***


  • 15-cup “original bundt” cake pan
  • 7-quart stand mixer (a 4.5 quart might work, but it will be tight!)

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 468 g. unsalted butter, at room temperature; plus more for pan (about 4 1/2 sticks total)
  • 562 g. granulated sugar; plus more for pan (under 3 c.)
  • 468 g. almond meal, pulsed 10 times in a food processor to break up clumps (4+ cups)
  • 150 g. all-purpose flour (1+ cup)
  • 562 g. eggs (about 11 large eggs)
  • 75 g. dark rum* (1/3 c.)

Ingredients for the Rum-Infused Simple Syrup: 

  • 100 g. granulated sugar (1/2 c.)
  • 117 g. water (1/2 c.)
  • 50 g. dark rum* (3 Tbs.)

Ingredients for the Rum Icing:

  • 180 g. confectioners’ sugar (1 1/2+ c.)
  • 15 g. dark rum* (1 Tbs.)
  • 15 g. water (1 Tbs.)

The Bouchon Bakery recommends using Meyer’s dark rum. I used Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum.

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F (325F for a convection oven). Melt 1-2 Tbs. of butter. Brush bundt cake pan with butter, being sure to get into all of the crevices. Refrigerate the pan to harden butter. Remove from fridge and sprinkle evenly with a few tablespoons of granulated sugar. Rotate pan until evenly coated on the sides and bottom. Tap out extra sugar and set pan aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter. Add sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one third at a time. Mix for only 15 seconds after each addition. The mixture will look broken, but you don’t want to overmix (which would cause the cake will expand too much). Scrape down sides of the bowl again.

Whisk together almond meal and all-purpose flour in a small bowl. With the mixer on low, add almond meal  mixture, one third at a time. Mix for only 15 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl and stir any remaining dry ingredients in.

Place 1 cup of batter in a small bowl. Add rum and stir until combined. Return to bowl and fold into batter.

Pour into prepared bundt cake pan. A half inch should be left at the top after filling the pan with batter. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean – 55-60 minutes for a convection oven and 65-70 minutes for a standard oven.

While the cake is baking, make the simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in rum and refrigerate until using.

When a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and set on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Place another cooling rack on top and invert cake onto cooling rack, removing the cake pan.

Allow to sit for another 10 minutes. Brush cake with simple syrup. Allow to soak in for a few minutes before reapplying syrup. Continue until syrup is gone and cake is evenly coated. Allow to cool completely.

And in case your cake doesn’t turn nicely out into the pan like mine….

Turn it into a….

Rum Cake Trifle


rum cake (soaked in simple syrup) + rum whipped cream

Ingredients for the Rum Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 4 heaping tablespoons (the kind you use for dinner, not the measuring scoop) granulated sugar
  • 2-3 Tbs. dark rum

Make the Rum Whipped Cream: Place whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Without turning off the mixer, sprinkle in sugar. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Add rum and whisk until just incorporated. Refrigerate until using.

Make the trifle just before serving. Cube rum cake and layer with whipped cream.

Enjoy. 🙂

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‘Tis the 1oth week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Meal Planning Magic. This year has flown by – I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! Most of my holiday shopping is done, although I didn’t have much of a choice because of the upcoming move. I’m really looking forward to some down time during Christmas week. While I know we’ll be visiting a lot of family, I’m hoping for a few hours to curl up with a book while my hubby serves me tea and cocoa (ha! wishful thinking, right?)

Anyway, after last week’s rich, decadent Bourbon Balls, I thought I’d bring you something a little lighter. I made this Lemon-Cranberry Cake for no special occasion, just for my hubby and I to have a sweet around the house. I enjoyed the cake for breakfast (it’s got fruit in it!), snack with tea, and for dessert. With all of the rich sweets that are served from mid-November through the Christmas season, this cake felt refreshing, with a burst of lemon and cranberry flavors. (Note: The lemon flavor still comes through in the cake, even if you decide to skip the glaze.)

Lemon-Cranberry Cake

Adapted from The Pastry Queen p. 76

Makes 1 loaf cake

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 1/4 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1 2/3 c. plus 1 Tbs. all purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 Tbs. more to grease the pan
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 Tbs. lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:

  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter. Be sure to get the edges so that the cake doesn’t stick to the pan! Flour lightly, tap out excess flour, and set aside.

In a small bowl, toss cranberries in 1 Tbs. flour. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about a minute. Lower speed slight and add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With mixer on low speed, add baking powder, salt, and half of remaining flour. Add half of milk, and when incorporated, add the rest of the flour, followed by the remainder of the milk. Scrape down sides of the bowl, mixing again on low speed if needed. Fold in lemon zest and floured cranberries.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55-70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Set a cooling rack on top of a piece of parchment or wax paper (to catch any glaze that may drip if you glaze the cake). Invert cake onto wire rack to continue cooling.

Make the Glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cool sugar and lemon juice until sugar has melted, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until it has come to a boil. Allow to boil for 30 seconds before removing pan from heat. Allow to cool slightly, as glaze will thicken a little as it cools.

Glaze the Cake: Pierce top of cake all over with a toothpick. Use a pastry brush to apply warm glaze to cake. (My cake was still warm when I glazed it.)

Store covered tightly with plastic wrap at room temperature.

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This is my third week participating in the Twelve Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Meal Planning Magic. This week, I bring to you a sweet for those mornings when family stays over or an afternoon coffee with friends.

This crumb cake comes together easily and quickly.  The cake is light and airy and the crumb topping is more than generous. It tastes as good as bakery crumb cake, if not better.

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2008/Cooks Illustrated

Servers 8-10

Makes an 8×8 in. pan

Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 c. cake flour

Ingredients for Cake:

  • cooking spray/vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 c. cake flour
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the Crumb Topping: Whisk together melted butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt. When combined, add cake flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture is thick and cohesive. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the cake.

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil, with an inch or two overhanging edges of pan. Spray with vegetable oil/cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk (or beat on “stir”) flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. With a mixer on medium-low speed, add butter, one piece at a time, until mixture is crumbly and butter is pea-sized. Increase speed to medium-high and add buttermilk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. The batter will be thick and very sticky.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to even it out, making sure the batter reaches all four corners and edges of the pan. Using your fingers to crumble the cinnamon-sugar-flour mixture into pea-sized pieces evenly over cake batter.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until cake is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes in pan before using aluminum foil to remove cake from pan, move to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Storage: May be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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Last Halloween, my friends and I had a Clue-themed Halloween party. It was fantastic. We all dressed up as characters from the movie (yours truly was Mrs. White). We decorated a friend’s house with props from the movie – a set of keys, pumpkins with the weapons carved into them, the weapons (a lead pipe, two candlesticks, etc.) scattered about the house. Our hosts, Ms. Scarlet and Mr. Body, did a fabulous job of transforming their dining room table into a billiards table, which is where the food was served. Our menu was also inspired by the movie. I never issued a post with the menu, but here it is:

Ms. Scarlett’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Mrs. White’s White Pizza
Soft frosted sugar cookies with the weapons piped onto them
“Monkey’s brains” (crab dip)
Red herring (bagels & lox)
Colonel Mustard’s homemade pretzels and mustard dip
Almond brandied pound cake (because they drink tons of brandy during the movie)
Mr. Green’s chips & guacamole
Professor Plum’s chocolate-covered plums

I had been eying this pound cake recipe for a while, and was thrilled for an occasion to make it. I was a huge fan. It was just barely sweet with a slightly crunchy top. It’s recipes like this one (and the almond poppy seed bread) that make me wish that I had friends over for tea, because I can’t help but think that this would be fabulous with tea or after dinner coffee. But even if you don’t entertain for tea or coffee, you should make this recipe. Make it for your coworkers for their morning coffee. Or hoard it for yourself. Either one is perfectly acceptable. 😉

Almond Brandied Pound Cake

Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, via The Novice Chef featured on Love & Olive Oil (wow, that’s a mouthful!)

Makes 1 loaf


  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1¼ c. sugar, divided
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 1 Tbs. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ c. cake flour, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and continue whipping until the egg white form soft peaks. With the mixer still running, slowly add 1/2 c. of the sugar. Continue whipping until egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Transfer egg whites to a clean bowl and set aside.
  3. Clean stand mixer bowl and switch to the paddle attachment. Beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Lower speed and add salt and remaining ¾ of sugar. Increase speed again, mixing until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. In a small bowl (or measuring cup), whisk together egg yolks, brandy, almond extract and vanilla extract. With mixer on medium-low speed, add to butter-sugar mixture. Beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides of mixer as necessary, until thoroughly combined.
  5. Now we’re going to add the flour and egg whites with a rubber spatula. Alternate folding in ingredients: flour – egg white – flour – egg whites – flour. Flour and egg whites should be completely mixed in.
  6. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45-60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Top with be golden brown (if it browns too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil).
  7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then, use a knife to loosen edges of cake from pan. Invert, removing from pan. Place back on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve at room temperature.

Serving suggestions: with tea, coffee, or a dollop of whipped cream.

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I’ve been dying to make this cake again since the summer fruit started appearing in the grocery store. Not as pretty as the photos in the magazine, but this cake is a light summer treat.

Raspberry Peach Cake

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 80 (p. 68)

Serves 8-10

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour, more for the pan
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c. plain yogurt

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1/2 large, ripe peach, sliced very thinly (~ 1/16 an inch)
  • 3/4 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Make the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly butter a 9-inch round baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper (trace pan and cut out a circle). Butter the parchment paper and the sides of the pan. Gently sprinkle with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Lower speed slightly and dd eggs, orange zest, and vanilla, beating until thoroughly combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and sift in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and half of the flour. Fold into butter/egg mixture. The fold in the yogurt. Sift in the remaining flour and fold into wet mixture. Pour into prepared baking pan, and bake for 15 minutes.

While baking, make the topping: Using a fork, combine all ingredients in a small bowl, so that the fruit is well coated.

After 15 minutes of baking… pull out the cake (still on the oven rack) and quickly add topping to cake. It will still be very wet and look soft, but should hold the fruit.

Continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife along edges of pan to loosen it, and then invert onto a plate. Peal away the parchment and flip cake right-side-up to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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