Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Va’eira: Frogs Here, Frogs There . . . .

January 19, 2012

When I asked my son about the parsha, he and my daughter starting singing the frog song (“frogs here, frogs there . . .”). He told me that there was one big frog, and the Egyptians hit it and it became many frogs.

There is an interesting post at Rationalist Judaism that complains that schoolchildren are taught the above Rashi as peshat instead of derash.  Rashi explains that the use of the singular for frog (“the frog came up and covered the land of Egypt”) has the midrashic interpretation that one frog was beaten and turned into many frogs and the simple meaning that “frog” can mean a swarm of frogs, the way that lice is singular and plural at the same time.


Vayechi: Fish Cake

January 4, 2012

When I asked my children what they wanted to do for a parsha project, my son said he wanted to do something connected with Ephraim and Menashe. He wanted a chocolate cake, and I suggested one decorated like a fish. When Yaacov blessed Ephraim and Menashe he said “may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.”

Why fish? Rashi says it because fish proliferate hidden from view of the “ayin harah.”

Rabbi Edlestein explains: fish are protected from the evil eye because they live hidden from our view. They do not inspire jealousy because people are not aware of what goes on in their world. The message is that Jews should model themselves after fish in this regard, living in a separate spiritual environment, modestly, without the ostentation that would attract envious attention. “In the midst of the land” means that Jews should also be part of and contribute to the larger world.

Other ideas:

Just as a fish cannot live without water, so a Jew cannot live without Torah. (Chabad)

A fish cannot lose its kosher status if it is kosher; other kosher animal can become unkosher if they slaughtered properly or if there is some defect. Yaacov’s blessing was therefore that Ephraim and Menashe never lose their pure status. (Partners in Torah, Rabbi Meisels)


Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake

November 18, 2011

This is a great cake to make if:

(a) a guest/ family member is vegan, has an egg allergy, or dairy allergy;
(b) you need a quick, easy pareve dessert for Thanksgiving; or
(c) you need to make dessert, but you have absolutely nothing in the refrigerator (no eggs, butter or milk).

This the pumpkin version of wacky cake (also known as Amazon cake, Moosewood’s vegan chocolate cake, or witch’s brew cake). You mix flour with spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, you mix pumpkin puree, water, oil and a little vinegar. Wet and dry get mixed together to make a thick, vegan cake batter.

The original recipe calls for topping the moist, dense cake with a cream cheese frosting. The cake is served ice cold from the refrigerator. The taste sensation of cold spicy orange cake and cream cheese frosting is reminiscent of carrot cake. I had no trouble making a dairy-free “cream cheese” frosting with Tofutti “cream cheese,” but you could also leave this unfrosted or pour over a simple glaze.

File this recipe away–it is extremely handy. Not only does it come together in seconds, it relies exclusively on common pantry items (oil, canned pumpkin, flour, sugar, etc.). The only refrigerated item is the Tofutti for the frosting, but you could skip that if needed.

Most people have a fall back super easy chocolate cake, but would you believe that there are people who can’t eat chocolate? Well, there are. And they may end up being your last minute guests. As long as they aren’t also gluten-intolerant, this cake is perfect for them. Just make sure that you don’t have any soy-allergic guests if you go with the Tofutti frosting.


Not Another Carrot Kugel . . . (Pumpkin Muffins)

September 21, 2011

For Yom Tov, I made a batch of pumpkin muffins. I’m having company, and I thought I should make something like the carrot muffins that are so incredibly popular. It seems like most meals I have been invited to have included mini carrot muffins for the kids. If you have little orange muffins and puff pastry mini hot dogs, it is a happy, happy day for the little ones.

I think these pumpkin muffins are even tastier than the usual carrot muffin or carrot kugel. The recipe has a higher than usual amount of eggs, which give the muffin interior a lush, moist, but not soggy interior.


Parshat Ki Teitzei: Bird’s Nest Cake with Truffle Eggs

September 9, 2011

This parsha cake is inspired by this Bird’s Nest Cake from Better Homes and Gardens and this Martha Stewart cake with a truffle egg nest. To make the cake, make brownies or chocolate cake in a bowl or round pan. Cover the cake with chocolate dipped pretzels or chow mein noodles. Put in the center truffles dipped in blue tinted chocolate or blue Jordan almonds.

I went with a very easy chocolate brownie recip that the kids mixed up themselves, but this could be a fun project if you make little nests from the chocolate pretzels or noodles by themselves and stick the Jordan almonds or jelly beans in the center. See here for what this would look like. (more…)

Happy 50th Mom and Dad!

July 18, 2011

I have been busy with my parents’ golden wedding anniversary party. I  made the same cakes as for my mom’s birthday party (the chocolate nemesis and the lemon coconut), but I upgraded the presentation a bit.

The chocolate cake got covered with chocolate fondant, and the lemon coconut got turned into a tiered cake with gumpaste flowers.

I originally planned to garnish the cake with two extra bouquets, but forgot them at home.

Here is the mock-up of the cake and closeups of the little bouquets:


Blueberry Bublanina (Czech Coffee Cake)

June 16, 2011

Bublanina ( boo-blah-nee-nah) . . .” bubbly cake.”

Fun to say and fun to eat.

There are lots of versions of this coffeecake on the internet, but I liked this one from Barbara Rolek on  with blueberries, or čučoriedky (here is the version with cherries, or čerešne or ceresnova, which is known as meggyes lepeny in Hungary).


Carine’s Israeli Nesquik Chocolate Cake

May 25, 2011

In Sweet Secrets, Carine Goren explains that she developed this recipe when she ran out of regular cocoa powder. She improvised with Nesquik chocolate drink mix and loved the results.

The recipe in the book says the yield is one 8″ cake, but I had enough batter for an 8″ square pan plus 6 cupcakes (note that the recipe linked to calls for a large cake pan and not the size pan mentioned in my book; I think  tThe right pan size is 9″x13″ UPDATE: 9×13 pan works perfectly).

The only change I made to the recipe was swapping out the sour cream with coconut milk–which worked deliciously. The cake has a very rich, moist, compact crumb.  The cake is light brown and not as intensely chocolate as I usually prefer, but Carine Goren observes that the cake is also less bitter, making it more appealing to kids. (Update: for a more intense chocolate flavor, add a couple of spoons of pure cocoa plus a tsp. of coffee powder) (more…)

Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake

April 27, 2011

You will not believe that this German chocolate cake is gluten-free. I served this to serious German chocolate cake fans, and they were incredulous.

The cake is moist, with an intense chocolate flavor that stands up to the decadent frosting. (more…)

Super Easy, Super Quick Deep Dark Chocolate Cake for Passover

March 31, 2011

Do you need a simple chocolate cake for Passover? Not a decadent flourless mousse-ey thing, but a chocolate birthday cake kind of cake or a chocolate snack cake kind of cake?

You have come to the right place.

I have a recipe that is so easy you could make it with your preschool age children (I did) in no time flat. No separating eggs, no melting chocolate, no creaming margarine . . . . You just whip the eggs really well, let child A dump in the sugar, continue beating until the eggs are light yellow and fluffy like lemon mousse, let child B dump in the oil, beat a second or two more, and then Child A or B dump in the bowl of cocoa powder, potato starch, and baking soda, mix a little, stir a bit with a spatula, and dump the batter in the pan and bake.

That is it. And the cake will rise miraculously in the oven and emerge with a deep, dark chocolate flavor and a velvety crumb.

And it doesn’t taste Pesadich! I gave a piece to my mom and asked her to guess what was missing. She first guessed eggs, then oil, and then a couple of other things before guessing, incredulously, “flour?!” She was flabbergasted. It really tastes like regular chocolate cake. (more…)