Encore: Try This Apple-Matzoh Pudding Cake For Passover

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I first posted this recipe two years ago, and it proved to be a hit, both with readers who saw the recipe on this blog,  and with diners in Palo Alto who actually got a taste.  I’m making it again for our dinner next Monday, as a way of celebrating the Passover holiday. In place of flour, this recipe uses matzohs, the unleavened bread traditional to Passover, ground into a meal. If you decide to try this is recipe I think there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find matzohs for sale at your local supermarket this week. And whether you celebrate Easter or Passover or neither, I wish you a great weekend. Recipe, after the jump.

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Elegant and Easy-To-Make, Panforte Is Perfect For Your New Year’s Buffet

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Panforte, literally “strong bread” in Italian, originated in Sienna in the middle ages as a sort of tribute paid to the monks and nuns, or so the story goes. In any case, it’s now a rich, fruit and nut cake made for the holidays and enjoyed all over Italy and a good many other places as well. High end stores sell panforte at steep prices, but you can easily make it at home. This maple syrup-sweetened version goes together quickly and bakes in only about 35 minutes. Serve with coffee or tea.

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A Steamy, Warm and Spicy Recipe For The Coming Winter: Cranberry-Apple/Pear Pudding Cake

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I don’t know what it is about cranberries. I find their tartness refreshing and nearly addictive, and I do my best to incorporate them into dishes both savory and sweet during the brief time they’re in season. Today’s recipe combines them with apples and pears in a rustic dessert which could be a great finale to a holiday meal. Ginger and cinnamon add a spicy, warming note, and walnut pieces provide a subtle crunch.  To keep these pudding-cakes really moist, bake them in a bain marie, which just means that they are oven steamed in a pan half filled with hot water. For an elegant and easy presentation, use individual ramekins, and serve with a whipped or frozen topping of your choice.

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Tea Time? Try This Light, Lemony and Crunchy Poppyseed Cake

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Can a cake be light and moist and dense all at the same time?  It seems to me that this one is.  As you probably recall, I’ve long had a love affair with lemons. Is there anything which a squeeze of lemon doesn’t improve?  In this recipe, lemons provide a refreshing zing, maple syrup a lush sweetness and poppyseeds, the crunch. While there are hundreds of versions of poppyseed cake, most of central and eastern European origin, few are as simple as this vegan recipe. A note of caution: while this cake won’t get you high, people have tested positive for banned substances after eating quantities of poppyseed bagels and desserts. Forewarned is forearmed! Recipes for the cake and a maple-lemon glaze are after the jump…

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Summer Preview: Lemon Cake with Coconut Cream and Raspberry Coulis

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Cake baking is not one of my specialities, so when I do pop a cake into the oven it’s likely to be for a special occasion.  In this case, we’re celebrating the 24th anniversary of our vegetarian dinners in Palo Alto. For our party I will dress up a simple lemon cake with two sauces, coconut cream and a raspberry coulis. Although this cake is good in any season, I especially like it in summer with a topping of local berries or stone fruit. Rustic in style, it is light, yet substantial, with maple syrup adding sweetness and cornmeal providing a hint of crunch. If  you’re looking for an-easy-to-make cake for a special celebration, I think this one will make you happy. Recipes after the jump.

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Summer’s Harvest: Plums are Now Bountiful at Your Farmer’s Market

Plum crunch cake with roasted plums

There’s so much great produce at farmer’s markets these days, it’s hard to know where to begin. But these lovely plums caught my eye last Saturday. Plums show up in almost endless variety. Some 2,000 different types are grown world wide, with 100 varieties grown in the U.S. alone, ranging from the spring-green green gage to deeply blue-to-indigo-colored damsons, with shades of rosy pink, yellow and cream in between. A whitish bloom on the skin is normal, and in fact is a sign they are fresh and haven’t been over handled. Choose plums that are slightly soft at the tip, and eat them thoroughly ripe, as apparently their anti-oxidant quality increases with ripeness. Plums are typically made into wine, jams and jellies and are delicious dried (formerly known as “prunes,” but you may have noticed that the marketing people now call them “dried plums”). In any case, my recipe for a simple vegan plum crunch cake follows…

California plums are now in peak season.

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Summer’s Harvest: Maple-Sweet Corn-Polenta Cake

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Is this cornbread or is this cake?  It’s so dense and moist and gently sweetened with maple syrup that I’m calling it a cake. In any case, it’s such a simple recipe that it’s success depends largely on the quality of the corn you use. Use fresh corn if you possibly can. Shuck it and steam for five or six minutes, then cut the kernels off the cob. Although this recipe is loosely based on one which calls for buttermilk,  I use rice or soy milk and rice vinegar to replace the buttermilk. However, if buttermilk works for you, be my guest.  Serve with fresh fruit, a whipped topping, or the simple maple-cinnamon glaze I suggest below.

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