Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce
For the Apple Cake
  1. ½-¾ cups chopped dates
  2. ½-¾ cups apple brandy (or Calvados)
  3. 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  4. 2 cups white sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. 1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. ½-teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. ¾ teaspoon salt
  9. 4 cups slightly tart apples: peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  10. ½ cup melted butter
  11. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the Caramel Sauce (yields about 2 cups)
  1. 1-cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup cold water
  3. ½ stick butter
  4. 1-cup heavy cream
  5. ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  1. About one hour before starting to bake the cake, place the dates in a small bowl and cover with the apple brandy. Stir from time to time and if they get too "tight", just add more brandy.
  2. Preheat oven to 325. Using butter, grease a baking pan (approximately 13 x 9 x 2).
  3. Into a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Add the chopped apples, dates, melted butter and the eggs. This will be a very heavy, thick batter but don't worry -- just be sure to mix it well.
  5. Spread in the prepared pan, place on a rack in center of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Test with a skewer -- if it comes out still a bit gooey, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. You'll know when it's done. It will be a nice dark tan color and will spring back to a light touch.
Caramel Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Continue to boil until the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber color, being careful not to let it get too dark and burn.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully pour the cream into the melted sugar. It will bubble violently and give off steam.
  5. Return the saucepan to a low heat and stir butter and sea salt. Set caramel aside until ready to serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
  1. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 3 tablespoons dark rum
  8. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  3. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's fairly even.
  5. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  1. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream (vanilla or cinnamon).
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

A “Go-To” Birthday Cake by Rita Cevaal

I have two kinds of recipes that I cook from. One is a collection that I go to automatically; it contains recipes that are quick and easy and family recipes that I have been making for decades – my “go-tos.” The other collection has more elaborate recipes that require more time and ingredients, saved for special occasions.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 2.22.42 PMI have a recipe that you will want to add to your “go-to” collection of recipes. It is quick and easy, looks beautiful, and of course it’s delicious! When reading Bon Appetit last spring this Raspberry Ricotta Cake caught my eye not only because it looked so cute but also because the ingredients were items I had at home. It makes a 9” round pan (you can also make it square, but it is prettier in a round).  It is the perfect size when you need to bring a dessert somewhere, it does not need any embellishment, and you can make it throughout the year since it uses frozen raspberries. No mixer required. It’s so easy. It’s delicious. It’s a pretty cake. It has become “the” cake for our birthdays here at Marcel’s. Try it, you will not be disappointed.

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake
  1. nonstick vegetable oil spray
  2. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 2 t. baking powder
  5. 3/4 t. kosher salt
  6. 3 large eggs
  7. 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  8. 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  9. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  10. 1 cup frozen raspberries or blackberries, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by ¾ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries over top.
  3. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
  1. Do Ahead: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
  2. You can also make this in 2 6” round cake pans. Reduce baking time to 40-50 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Homespun by Anne Farnum

PoundcakeMy mom is a baker and has always been a baker…homemade only.  Scratch-made, homemade, homespun…call it what you would like but a box mix has never graced the shelves of my mother’s pantry or cabinets.
I know that time and memories can play tricks on you but I recall coming home every day from school and there being a fresh baked good waiting for me and my six siblings to enjoy.  The only prerequisite that my mom had was that we had to eat a bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit first.  I am now 47 years old, have four children of my own and my mom continues to bake almost daily.  In fact, my children walked to my parent’s house after school today and a pan of brownies were in the oven.  
When there is a family occasion, my mom is our go-to baker.  Whether it be a holiday, birthday, Big Game party or just a regular family dinner, it is her baked goods that are always the dessert and it’s usually not just one dessert.  There is an “appetizer” dessert and a main dessert.
My children always put in their birthday cake requests to my mom, (their Mimi), prior to the birthday celebration. My son Luke loves Miss Bebe’s Spice Cake, my daughters Lucy and Tess ask for the checkerboard Oreo Ice Cream Cake and my 10 year-old son, Hugh, always puts in his request for Delicious Poundcake. Poundcake isn’t the typical birthday cake a 10 year-old boy would request but without fail, it’s ALWAYS the one — and it is delicious! 
So, thank you Mom, for always baking for me over the years and for continuing the tradition for the next generation’s enjoyment.  

Raspberry-Filled Chocolate Molten Cupcakes

Raspberry-Filled Chocolate Molten Cupcakes
  1. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  2. 6 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 11 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted (2 ½ cups chopped)
  7. 18 raspberries (36 if they are small)
  8. confectioners' sugar, for serving
  9. vanilla ice cream (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line 12 standard muffin tin cups with paper liners.
  3. In large bowl with a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low, beat in flour and salt. Beat in chocolate until just combined.
  4. Divide half the batter among cups, add two raspberries to each, and top with remaining batter. Bake until tops are just set and no longer shiny, 10 to 11 minutes, let cool in pan on a wire rack, 10 minutes. Remove from pans, dust with confectioners' sugar, and top with ice cream, if desired.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chef Kelly’s Favorite Chocolate Cake

Chef Kelly's Favorite Chocolate Cake
  1. 3¾ cups sugar
  2. 3 1/3 cups flour
  3. 1 cup cocoa powder
  4. 3 t. baking powder
  5. 3 t. baking soda
  6. 2 ½ t. salt
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 16 oz. milk
  9. ¾ cup vegetable oil
  10. 2½ t. vanilla
  11. 16 oz. boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. In a different bowl, combine eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients into the dry with paddle attachment on medium speed.
  5. After combined, add the boiling water.
  6. Fill 3 9-inch round pans 2/3 full and bake at 350 until cake tests done and begins to pull from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes.
Kelly loves to serve this cake with Warm Caramel Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter with 2/3 cup brown sugar; add in 2 T. brewed coffee, 2 T. corn syrup, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, cool slightly and drizzle over cake and serve.
Adapted from Chef Nancy Carey
Adapted from Chef Nancy Carey
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Grandma’s Old Shoebox by Cherise Slattery

When I was a kid, I loved Thursdays. It was the night Grandma came for dinner. Mom would clean the house until it sparkled, and something special would be in the oven.  My brother, sister and I would have to change out of our “play clothes” and back into our “school clothes” before Grandma got done with her weekly set at the hairdressers and arrived at our house for dinner.

Grandma would always bring something fun for us. If she stopped by after school it would be with giant sprinkle cookies from the bakery uptown. If she spent the night we would wake up to grapefruit doused in sugar with a cherry in the center. On St Patrick’s Day we could expect her to show up with green bread to have with our dinner.  Grandma always made food fun. So when it was time to get Grandma a birthday present, food naturally came to my mind.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 1.18.35 PMWhat do you get a Grandma, about to turn 80, who has everything? After considering the typical box of chocolates, the idea hit me! She had been mentioning how difficult it was getting for her to read her collection of hand written recipes. Most were written in pencil, on old index cards, and were kind of hard to see, even for the rest of us. My present for Grandma was going to make cooking easy and fun again, without the frustration of not being able to see if it’s a teaspoon of this or a quarter cup of that. I snuck into her cabinet and stole her old shoebox full of index cards…hoping the whole time that she wasn’t going to get an urge to make that old Pig Pickin’ Cake that she needed a recipe for! I set about to organize, and then type, Grandma’s vast assemblage of recipes. That’s where the fun began!

These were not just recipe cards, these were a glimpse into her life. A bank statement from 40 years ago with the recipe for Pecan Tassies written on the back. A receipt from my own mother’s wedding reception! A recipe for Shrimp Di Jonghe with somebody’s five digit phone number scribbled in the margin. Who can even remember when phone numbers were only five digits? And why did Grandma have literally eight different recipes for Key Lime Pie? But my favorite of all was Grandma’s personality written in every instruction. See recipe below; you’ll understand!

Thanks for cooking up so many happy memories Grandma!


Grandma's Pecan Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting
For Frosting
  1. 4 T. flour
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 1 cup butter, room temperature
  4. 1 cup sugar
For Cake
  1. ½ cup butter
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 t. vanilla
  5. 2 cups flour
  6. ½ t. baking soda
  7. ½ t. baking powder
  8. ½ t. salt
  9. 1 cup sour cream
  10. 1 cup finely chopped pecans
For Frosting
  1. Cook flour and milk in saucepan, over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Let paste cool. Blend together butter and sugar. Add paste and beat like hell.
For Cake
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Fold in pecans. Spread into two greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely. Frost with Grandma’s Whipped Cream Frosting. If desired, sprinkle cake with toasted pecans.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/