Oh my! Poor (very strange looking) kitty just wanted some cake.
Last year I was lucky to have my daughter home for her birthday. Being that she was a Russian major who has spent quite a lot of time studying and working in Russia, I wanted to make a Russian cake. Specifically Russian Honey Cake.
I looked around the internet for a recipe. When I saw that Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen had a recipe for Russian Honey Cake on her blog, the search was over. Everything I make from her cookbooks and blog is always fantastic. There was also the bonus that Deb’s husband is Russian and she spent hours researching to come up with the perfect recipe.
Now I am sharing the recipe with you. Russian Honey Cake is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. The cookie/cake layers have a hint of honey flavor amidst the buttery caramel notes. Sandwiched between the layers is a simple, sweetened sour cream filling.
Before you make the cake, be sure to remember that you must start it one day in advance as it must set up in the refrigerator overnight before it is decorated.
Also, there is a point in the recipe where all of the sour cream filling will seep out of the cookie layers in a series of wtf moments. It eventually thickens…I promise. (I saw a bunch of recipes that used a thickened filling with more ingredients and didn’t appear to make such a mess…but I trusted Deb Perelman, and I am glad I did.)
Russian Honey Cake
Ingredients for the Cookie/Cake Layers:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour, divided
Ingredients for the Icing and Filling:
32 ounces sour cream
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Get 2 baking sheets (or even better, round pizza pans) down, more if you have them. Tear off 6 sheets of parchment paper large enough to have a 9-inch circle on it.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar, honey and butter over medium heat. Once simmering, cook for about 3 minutes until it is a faint shade darker and fragrant. Whisk in baking soda.
3. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside for 3 minutes. Transfer the honey mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
4. Lightly beat eggs in a measuring cup (so that it is easy to pour them). With mixer on low, drizzle in the eggs as slowly as possible in a thin stream (about 1/2 teaspoon at a time). Do not stop mixing. Continue until all of the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
5. Stir in the salt, vanilla and 3 cups of the flour. The dough will be very thick. Stir in the last 1/2 cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time.
6. Lightly flour work surface and divide the still-warm dough into 8 even pieces. Roll the first dough piece between two sheets of parchment paper (no flouring needed) to a round slightly larger than 9 inches. Remove top sheet of parchment paper. Lightly dust the top with flour and place a 9-inch cake pan on top, then trim the dough to make an even 9-inch circle. Save the trimmings and put them aside on a sheet of parchment paper.
7. Prick the circle of dough all over with a fork then slide it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
8. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes. The cookie/cake circle should feel firm and be slightly darker at the edges. Slide the cookie/cake onto a cooling rack.
9. Meanwhile, while the first layer is baking, roll out the second dough piece so it’s ready to go into the oven as soon as the first comes out. Repeat this process as you bake each round until all 8 rounds are baked. Keep adding the unbaked cookie trimmings to the parchment-lined baking sheet you started in step 6.
10. Bake the sheet of cookie trimmings for 5 minutes until pale golden, checking at 3 minutes to be sure the thinnest scraps are not getting too browned. Let cool completely and set aside until it’s time to decorate the cake.
11. Whisk sour cream and sweetened condensed milk together in a large bowl. Place a dab of the sour cream mixture on a cake plate (I recommend using a plate with a raised lip around the edge) and place the first cooled cookie on top of it to help keep it in place.
12. Cut one of the used pieces of parchment paper into strips and tuck them all around the underside of the cake to protect your cake plate. If you do not do this, you will have a messy plate to clean later.
13. Scoop 3/4 cup sour cream mixture onto the center of the first cookie layer. Spread it just a little bit from the center, leaving a 2-inch margin of unfrosted cookie. Top with the second cookie and 3/4 cup sour cream mixture. Repeat process until you have 8 layers.
The next step is a mess. Be prepared for a feeling of discouragement. Take a deep breath and rest assured that everything is going to be alright.
14. The cake is going to have sour cream spilling out and down the sides. The cake may also slide around and not stay neatly stacked. Remember that the filling will thicken as it absorbs into the cookies and the mess will eventually resolve. Just keep putting the cake in the refrigerator for an hour or two and carefully nudge the stack back into place. Use a spoon to scoop up the spilled filling and put it back up the sides and onto the top of the cake. Let the cake chill overnight.
15. The next day, finish the cake. Place the reserved baked cookie scraps in a food processor and pulse into crumbs.
16. Remove cake from refrigerator. Spread any sour cream that has seeped out overnight back onto the top and sides of the cake. To make a decoration on top of the cake, take a piece of parchment paper and cut it into a shape (such as the heart I used). Place this stencil gently on top of the cake.
17. Use a small spoon to sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the crumbs. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the crumbs off the stencil. Remove the stencil and parchment paper strips.
18. The cake can be served right away or it will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days. Use a knife dipped in hot water to make clean slices.
Nothing like opening up a post with some jazzy hamsters promoting spring water.
Today’s recipe is a lot more comforting and substantially more satisfying than any bottle of water.
Baked Rigatoni With Béchamel Sauce will warm you up as the weather turns cooler. The rich, white cream sauce gets a flavor boost from some nutty fontina and salty bits of prosciutto.
Baked Rigatoni With Béchamel Sauce
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
32 ounces whole milk, at room temperature
Pinch fresh nutmeg
Sea salt and pepper
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 pound dry rigatoni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
2. In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes until it thickens and it can coat the back of the spoon.
3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in nutmeg, 1/2 cup fontina, and prosciutto. Season with salt and white pepper then set aside.
4. Cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain then return pasta to the pot.
5. Pour béchamel sauce over the pasta and mix well.
6. Spoon pasta mixture in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup fontina and then scatter with diced butter.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbling and the top is golden.
We’re gonna kick up the jazz and go over the top with some art-psych jazz-rock. That’s what British band Hill is offering up. This weird meandering tune checks all my get in a good mood boxes for today.
“We want to have fun”
Damned straight, we do!
Check out Hill on Youtube. The link to their website is expired, unfortunately.
These are probably the best muffins I have made in a long time.
Caramel Banana Muffins are the full flavor package. In addition to the delicious combination of caramel and banana, there is a crunchy pecan streusel in the batter and even more on top. The muffin is beautifully moist with a satisfyingly crisp top.
Caramel Banana Muffins
½ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
⅔ cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons caramel-flavored ice cream topping, plus extra for drizzling
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1. Line twelve (2-1/2-inch) muffin cups or 6 jumbo (3-1/4-inch) muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, mix pecans, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, softened butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until well combined. Add egg and beat well. Beat in the mashed banana and vanilla until combined.
4. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the banana mixture, beating on low speed until just combined.
5. Stir 1/4 cup of the pecan mixture into the batter.
6. Spoon half the batter into prepared muffin cups. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon caramel topping over batter in each cup. Top with remaining batter. Drizzle each with a little melted butter and sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture.
7. Bake at 375℉ for 18 to 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
8. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan. Serve warm drizzled with more caramel topping.
This year my son celebrated his 20th birthday while spending the summer in Wisconsin. I decided to make some portable cakes to send him. Birthday Cake In A Jar!
Since I live in Vermont, I knew those jars would be traveling lots of miles over about 3 days at the end of July. I decided to go with boxed cake mix and purchased icing to reap the benefits of all the preservatives that are added to them.
Funfetti Cake and a colorful splash of rainbow sprinkles make the cakes very festive. Bonus…my son said they arrived just fine and were yummy.
Birthday Cake In A Jar
1 Funfetti cake mix
1 tub of vanilla icing
3 (1 pint) wide mouth Mason jars
Round cookie cutter
Ribbons and stickers, to decorate
1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
2. Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions.
3. Bake the cake in the prepared pan for the time indicated on the mix package. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
4. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out cake rounds that are slightly smaller than the mason jar opening.
5. Drop a cake round into the bottom of the jar then spoon on some icing. Repeat with another cake round and some more icing. Add a sprinkling of sprinkles.
6. Seal the jar with the lid. Wrap ribbon around the jars and add a birthday tag.
“GOLIATH” is the new single from NY-based artist ameliarose. There’s a lot going on…insistent piano, little vocal squeaks, some brooding 90’s Alanis vibes, and an overall mesmerizing, chill feel. And she’s only 19 years old!
“I’m bitter & bold
I’m glitter & gold
I’ve lost control
& I need your hold”
Check out ameliarose on her Website where you can buy the music.
July is the beginning of birthday season in my house. There is a birthday every month culminating with JC’s on December 25th.
I made this Sweet And Salty Snack-Food Cake last November for my son’s birthday and it was the perfect, festive celebration cake. The brown sugar cake is frosted with a delectable brown sugar icing and coated with a thick chocolate ganache.
And then there is that snack food crumble!
A mixture of salty potato chips, crunchy cookies, sweet coconut is baked after being tossed with butter and brown sugar. Toss in some chocolate covered raisins and you’ve got the ultimate dessert granola. It’s a lovely flavor contrast to the cake, but would also be fabulous spooned over some ice cream.
Sweet And Salty Snack-Food Cake
Ingredients for the Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more to grease the pans
2-3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for the Crumble:
3/4 cup crushed salted ridged potato chips
2 crunchy chocolate chip cookies, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup chocolate-covered raisins and/or nuts, chopped
Ingredients for the Icing and Ganache:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
Directions to make the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
3. Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Continue to beat until well blended, 1 to 2 more minutes. Reduce the speed to medium low then beat in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla in two batches, until just smooth (the batter may look curdled at first, but it will smooth out).
5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are browned and the edges begin to pull away from the pans and the centers spring back when pressed, 35 to 45 minutes.
6. Transfer cakes to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pans. Remove the cakes from the pans and place on rack to cool completely.
Directions to make the Crumble:
1. Toss the potato chips, cookies, coconut, melted butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl until well coated.
2. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Let cool, then stir in the chocolate-covered raisins and/or nuts. Set aside.
Directions to make the Icing:
1. Mix the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bow. Microwave, stirring once, until smooth, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly.
2. Cream the butter and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar in two batches until smooth.
3. Add the brown sugar mixture and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and spreadable, 1 to 2 more minutes.
Directions to make the Ganache:
1. Combine the remaining 1/3 cup heavy cream and the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe measuring bowl.
2. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted, about 1 minute. Let the ganache cool until it’s thickened but still spreadable.
Directions to assemble cake:
1. Put 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 1 cup icing, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup of the crumble, gently pressing it into the icing.
2. Top with the second cake layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of icing (this is the crumb coat so it doesn’t have to be perfect). Refrigerate until the icing is set, about 15 minutes.
3. Frost cake with the remaining icing. Press some of the remaining crumble around the bottom of the cake.
4. Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake and gently spread, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with the remaining crumble.
(I apologize to anyone named Karen who stops by here. It must be a royal pain in the ass to have your name used in this way.)
It’s summer and it’s hot.
As a cool alternative to the grill to keep yourself from melting in the kitchen, look to a slow cooker. These Slow Cooker Asian Baby Back Ribs require very little prep and slow cook up terrifically tender. The sesame-ginger glaze is lovely as is the fresh tasting Udon Salad served on the side.
Slow Cooker Asian Baby Back Ribs With Udon Salad
⅓ cup soy sauce
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 pounds baby back ribs (2 to 3 racks), cut into 8 pieces
1 (8.8-ounce) package udon noodles
1 bunch radishes (about 8), halved and thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 green onions, sliced
1. In a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, oil, ginger, and cayenne. Add the ribs and turn to coat.
2. Cover and cook on low until the ribs are tender, 6 to 7 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
3. Twenty minutes before serving, heat broiler. Place the ribs, meaty-side up, on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Strain the cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a medium bowl. Brush the ribs with half of the cooking liquid and broil, basting twice with the pan juices, until shiny and glazed, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
5. Add the noodles to the bowl of remaining cooking liquid from the slow cooker and toss with the radishes, cilantro, and green onions. Serve the ribs with the udon salad.
Summer is almost here! Pull some of these Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches out of the freezer for a refreshing treat that everyone will love.
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream or chocolate chip ice cream, softened
1 (16 1/2 ounce) roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper on plastic wrap. Spoon the softened ice cream into the pan, smoothing it into an even layer. Freeze for at least 4 hours or until ready to assemble cookies.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Roll cookie dough into 16 even balls. Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
4. Use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut ice cream into 8 rounds. (I had a lot of ice cream left over). Place one ice cream round on the flat side of 8 cookies. Top with flat side of remaining 8 cookies.
5. Roll edges of cookies in miniature chocolate chips. Wrap each ice cream sandwich in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
Note: Ice cream sandwiches can be made ahead and frozen up to one month.
Q: What do you call raspberries playing the guitar?
A: A jam session.
Q: What do you call a sad raspberry?
A: A blueberry.
Q: What did one raspberry say to the other?
A: If you weren’t so sweet, we wouldn’t be in this jam!
Q: What do you call a raspberry that uses foul language?
A: Berry Rude.
Need a patriotic-looking dessert for Memorial Day? This cool Red, White And Blueberry Ice Cream Pie With Granola Crust has got you covered. Swirls of blueberry and raspberry sauces cover vanilla ice cream in a nutty, crunchy granola crust. You can make the pie ahead of time, so that’s a bonus.
Red, White And Blueberry Ice Cream Pie With Granola Crust
2 cups granola without raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
3 cups vanilla ice cream or low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, softened
Ingredients for raspberry sauce:
6 oz fresh raspberries (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Ingredients for blueberry sauce:
6 oz fresh blueberries (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate.
2. In a food processor, pulse granola and walnuts until fine crumbs form. Add butter and honey and pulse just until blended. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate.
3. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.
4. Spread ice cream into prepared crust. Freeze, covered, for at least 2 hours.
5. In a small saucepan, combine raspberry sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil then decrease heat to medium and cook, uncovered, 5-7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, do the same with the blueberry sauce ingredients.
6. Cool and press each sauce separately through a fine mesh strainer into separate bowls.
7. Transfer each sauce into a resealable plastic bag. Snip a small hole in corner of each bag.
8. Decorate pie as desired. I swirled most of the sauces over the pie, but be sure to see how pretty Marina’s pie is using a lighter touch of sauce.
9.Freeze pie, covered, until serving time. Serve with any remaining raspberry and blueberry sauces. Serves 8
Welcome Center (Jesse Smith and Aaron Sternick) released a new single from their forthcoming EP “Talk Talk Talk” due out this summer. “Parasite City” delivers comfy indie-pop with all the flourishes one could want from the genre. It’s ace…just perfect for long weekend listening.
The video for ‘Parasite City’ gives off bad ass Rejection with a capital R vibes. It’s a crazy video. And did I mention that the song is ace?
Check out Welcome Center on Bandcamp where you can buy their music.
These songs are up for listening purposes and only for a short period of time. Like what you hear? Then please support the artist and buy the music. If you're an artist or label who wants the song taken down, please let me know.