Tag Archives: Cake

Brown sugar soy sauce cake: Gooey, citrusy, delish

Brown Sugar Soy Sauce Cake (165)
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Perusing the aisles at Rockridge Market Hall, one of my favorite local markets, I recently came across a beautiful little bottle of soy sauce: a product to which I don’t usually give much attention. But this decorated label magnetized me with phrases like “small batch”, “non-GMO”, “limestone filtered spring water”, and “brewed and aged in bourbon barrels”.  And the description of the taste captivated me the most: “hints of oak and a mild sweetness reminiscent of fine Kentucky bourbon.” With those words, I decided this soy sauce was destined to be part of my next dessert recipe.

Like most soy sauce, my new bottle was pleasantly rich, salty, and a bit malty at once. With its special robust flavor, I couldn’t think of a better match than molasses-rich dark brown sugar, and a moist skillet cake would offer a perfect format. For complementary complexity, I embellished and enhanced the cake with tangy, bright oranges and plenty of vanilla. To top it all off, the interplay of brown sugar, butter and salt would spontaneously create a sort of succulent butterscotch, present in every rich bite. Here is the recipe. … Continue reading »

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Pea and peppermint cake: Delightfully different

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For the new year, maybe you decided to eat more vegetables, or you’re craving green foods after a season of richer meals. Or, perhaps you didn’t resolve to do anything new, but you appreciate a little adventure in the kitchen. Allow me to introduce a delicious dessert whose ingredients include a heap of unlikely vegetables: green peas.

Frozen peas are my back-up for fresh veggies, and the kind I buy come in a bag that boasts, “Naturally sweet!” Despite those truthful italic words, I usually mask the peas’ sweetness with a bit of sea salt or parmesan cheese, serving them as a savory side. But then again, I’ve done the same thing with carrots, zucchini and pumpkin — and if these can make much-adored sweets, why not give peas a chance?

So I finally paired my sweet peas with sugar, flour and vanilla — along with plenty of fresh peppermint leaves and a bit of tangy lemon zest. The result was a delicious and refreshing cake, bursting with minty citrus and sweet herbal undertones. Here is the recipe: … Continue reading »

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Tomato spice cake: A seasonal sweet

Tomato Spice Cake (9)
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It’s been hard not to notice the abundance of tomatoes in season lately.  I’ve seen vibrant varieties of colors and shapes at farmers markets, grocery stores and gardens of green-thumbed friends.  They whisper that summer is sneaking away as the magic of autumn awaits us. They offer a burst of life and color while the sky gets a little bit darker each day. … Continue reading »

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Summer recipe: Cinnamon peach sandwich cakes

Peach whoopie pies (6)
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Peach season is almost over and, I have to say, I can’t get enough of it. There’s something that sings summertime when I bite into a fresh, ripe peach. Tart, sweet and juicy, the fruit is as delicious as it is elusive; it disappears into one’s belly as fast as its season seems to vanish into the autumn months. White peaches, yellow peaches, saturn peaches — they are all as beautiful and fragrant as they are scrumptious, if you ask me. … Continue reading »

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Gin and tonic cake: A cocktail turned confection

Gin and Tonic Cake (15)
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Herbal and effervescent, a gin and tonic is known as one of the most refreshing concoctions in existence. I’m not sure why the drink has been on my mind lately; perhaps it’s the recent surge of warm weather, or more likely, my own need for invigoration. Whatever the reason, I was quick to transform the classic cocktail into a fresh dessert – first in my mind, then in my kitchen.  After all, why not have your gin and eat it, too? … Continue reading »

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A sweet slice of egg nog: Tasting the season

Egg Nog Cake (9)
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Here is a cake I created as a tribute to one of my favorite seasonal treats.  As the holidays near, I find myself anxiously awaiting the arrival of egg nog — anticipating its rich, creamy sweetness and the way it signals a new year on the horizon.  For me, one of the best ways to celebrate something delicious is not simply to eat or drink it, but to transform it into a dessert.  So why settle for having a glass of egg nog when I can eat it, too? (Actually, I admit I’m even more satisfied by a slice of this cake than I am by sipping the drink that inspired it.  And whenever I’ve brought this cake to parties, I’ve witnessed it being devoured with great delight – even by those who are otherwise egg nog averse.) … Continue reading »

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Tea and sympathy: The cake

ts cake 1
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Before I heard that “tea and sympathy” was a play, a restaurant and a song, I only knew it as a soothing cocktail: hot tea with a splash of Grand Marnier. A warm mug of tea is my go-to drink for relaxation and comfort, and I’ve always loved the idea that sympathy can be added to it with a splash of orange liqueur. When I recently discovered a local and remarkably delicious Earl Grey tea – fragrant with vibrant bergamot and speckled with beautiful, tiny flower petals – I found myself drinking it daily and, naturally, I couldn’t help but think of turning it into a dessert.

I decided to pair it with orange liqueur and create my very own version of tea and sympathy: the cake. Here is the recipe.  (If you’re short on time, don’t miss the simplified version at the end of this post.) … Continue reading »

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Authors rally to raise funds for Children’s Hospital

Berkeley writers Michael Chabon and his wife, Ayelet Waldman. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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As the parent of four children, Berkeley author Michael Chabon has had the unfortunate opportunity to use the emergency room at Children’s Hospital in Oakland a number of times. Every time, the hospital took care of his kids. Now he is returning the favor.

On April 28, Chabon will be one of a number of high-profile writers and musicians who will appear at Notes & Words, a benefit for Children’s Hospital and Research Center. From the stage of the Art Deco Fox Theater, Chabon, Anne Lamott, Kelly Corrigan, and John Hodgman will talk about their lives and work. The band Cake will also perform.

“As a parent of four children, I have had to visit that portal of the emergency room a few times,” Chabon told Diablo Magazine in a recent interview. “The extremely high-quality and thoughtful and sensitive care that my family has directly received at Children’s Hospital is consistent with everything I have heard from other parents in the community. When I drive by the hospital on Highway 24, or fly over the hospital into Oakland Airport, I always find a sense of comfort when I see the rubber ducky on top. It’s a place that radiates comfort and promise.” … Continue reading »

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