Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

I searched for a recipe that had significance for the New Year and discovered the Orange Brandy Cake below, since it brings the consumer good luck, with a lucky coin hidden inside.   All I can think of when items are put into a cake, is a trip to the dentist!   I did just that favoring a broken molar, after consuming a lovely slice of pie of my making and biting down on a peach pit chunk.  Is that luck or what?!


I had the intention of making this cake but after reading it over I decided it resembled the always yummy Brandy Pound Cake offered in Little Neva’s Bakery.  The recipe below uses orange juice as well as zest.  My cake requires sour cream and I add in 4 pure extracts to exotically dance around the brandy.    Serve it with macerated fruit, whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce.  Eat it plain, but no matter your version, you will be so satisfied with every bite, down to the last morsel or crumb.  Yum!


Moist, extremely flavorful, terrific shelf life and just darn good, this tried and true recipe has been in my possession for many years.  The original recipe called for Apricot Brandy but I have since used basic brandy or sometimes blending apricot with it.  It had been a favorite with the family and has been shipped around the world many times, arriving in spectacular shape, regardless of the destination.  Perfect as a gift, party, treat and made in Virginia, too!

If your curiosity has been peaked here is the link to our adored Brandy Pound Cake: https://www.etsy.com/listing/67054935/pound-cake-butter-rich-moist-embraced?ref=shop_home_active_3

Do give this one from Epicurious a peek, bake it, eat it, let me know what you think..  If you order Little Neva’s pound cake also please let me know what you think!   Love feedback!

 New Year’s Orange and Brandy Cake

( from Epicurious website)

Makes one 10–inch round cake


    • 4 large eggs, separated
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, or a combination of butter and margarine
    • 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1/2 cup brandy
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • Grated zest of 1 orange
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • Whole blanched almonds


    1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 10-inch round cake pan.
    2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light yellow and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the butter or butter and margarine and beat for 1 minute more. Beat in the orange juice and brandy.
    3. Whisk together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and the zests in another large bowl. Add to the yolk mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
    4. In a large clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the pan and shake gently to even the top. Decorate the top with almonds.
    5. Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until it is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack before removing from the pan and serving.



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Saturday, February 2, 2013

When I had the brilliant idea or so I thought, of starting a blog, I being all consumed with the notion of it, neglected to pay attention to the reality of keeping up with the blog and of how life somehow manages to get in the way, gobbling up time and sapping the creative juices. Can’t believe it is already February 2013, well actually I can believe it, but in doing so I am admitting the shameful gap in blog posts.    Am I baking on life?    Yeah, but so busy in the kitchen and others rooms of life that all my grand ideas for posts stay either as scribbles or stuck in my head.     Organization, a trait that I seem to be losing grasp of as I turn the calendars of life. When I am in the moment of typing , editing, pulling pictures and seeing results it is wonderfully fun and satisfying but, turn away, step away, allow yourself to be pulled in 89 directions and poof it is wiped clean from the frontal lobe, time passes, then I worry what the handful of people who might read this blog would think in my absence so I delay more.

In December I vowed to make sweeping resolutions, weight loss, new products for the bakery, rise earlier, be more productive, blog success.  I planned on writing or confessing my progress in my life blog.   Well done! It is February, nice job! Yeah, long list, who am I kidding?     But ya know I did take down the Christmas tree this week and 99% of the decorations are packed up and on their way to the store room.    I absolutely love Christmas, the wonderment, magic and purity of it.   The festivity of it.     We have approximately 8 boxes of decorations, most of which manage to escape from the boxes and distribute themselves all over the house each year.      fudge pie, vd box, short cookies 038

We all have unique Christmas memories that we cherish.  My mother was born on Christmas Eve many many moons ago.  She always says it must have been difficult for her mother to birth a child at such a time.   As kids my parents took us into Yonkers to Patricia Murphy’s, a wonderful restaurant, beautifully decorated for the holiday.  It was my mother’s birthday treat.  I will always remember the popovers and small sticky buns they served as an accompaniment to the meal.  The waiter came around with a serving tray or basket of the freshly baked treats.    Yum.  That experience stays with me.   We traveled into Manhattan each year to see the NYC Rockettes perform their spectacular Christmas show.   We eventually moved to Florida so the holiday took on a whole new look & feel for us.   We still made it magical!

Candlelight Restaurant Westchester New York  
Courtesy of CardCow.com             Patricia Murphy's in Yonkers NY, summertime.

Too bad I can’t put my finger on a photo of the restaurant all lit up with white lights and decorations.  Memorable, but not quite as memorable as those popovers and sticky buns!  Maybe that’s why I love to make sticky buns all these years forward!!   My mother made Yorkshire pudding,  using popover batter,  served with standing rib roast and delish roasted potatoes for Christmas dinner every year.  Popovers are a cinch to beat up but the baking process can be tricky.   A preheated hot oiled pan seems to be the trick, but alas I do not make them as often as the delectable sticky bun.  Food swirls in and around our memories, like the sweet cinnamon filling in the bun.  It fleshes life out, flavors it and makes it more potent.   Hope you’re cooking / baking one up now!  I will try to spend more time in my life with this blog!

Mangia! Until next time we eat!!

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Tuesday  September 4, 2012

Holiday weekends lend themselves to extra special creations for any meal but I love breakfast and brunch, anytime, anywhere.  My favorite meal of the day and also the best meal to eat generously since you burn it off during the day.  You know the saying …’eat like a king at breakfast, a princess for lunch and a pauper for dinner’!!  Sage advice in my opinion.   The use of orange marmalade seemed like a cheery twist,  creating a light delectable addition to the brunch table spread.    We usually go BIG for brunches with a  varied selection of food, sweets with savory, colorful and healthy.

A partial brunch selection… easy holiday to guess!

I had posted Orange Sweet Rolls, http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/orange-sweet-rolls-recipe, on my Facebook page and planned to use the recipe at some point.   This was the weekend!   As you will see I adapted the recipe a tad.  I can’t help myself!  I  threw some sliced almonds and coconut into the marmalade filling for a little more pizazz. I also indulged myself by filling a small portion of the dough with a cocoa mixture to satisfy my chocolate urge.

Orange Marmalade Buns

1  – 1  1/4 cups lukewarm water

3 cups all purpose or unbleached  flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 teaspoons rapid yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

1  teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt


1/4 cup orange marmalade

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons orange extract

Icing **

1  1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice powder or orange extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1  1/2 to 2 tablespoons orange juice, enough to make a soft, spreadable icing

**  I made the icing a little lighter, less sweet by lessening the amount of sugar.   The icing is not as prominent or thick, once put on the buns.


Mix and knead everything together — by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle — until the dough is smooth.     If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it will take about 7 minutes on speed 2, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl,  sticking a little at the bottom.    If using a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a soft, smooth ball.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.    Rising could take longer, if you’ve kneaded by hand;     give the dough enough time to become quite puffed.

While the dough is rising, lightly grease two 9″ round cake pans.

Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 12 x 16″ rectangle.   It’s a soft dough, and pats out easily.

Mix the marmalade,  orange extract, almonds, and coconut together until they’re well combined. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about 3/4″ of one long side free of marmalade.

Roll the dough into a log the long way, rolling towards the bare edge. When the log is completely rolled, pinch the long seam closed as best you can.

Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 16 slices.   It helps to slice the dough by rinsing the blade in hot water and wiping it off between slices.

Space eight rolls in each of the prepared pans.

Loosely cover the pans, and let the rolls rise until they’re noticeably puffy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour;  they should spread out and crowd one another.

While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the rolls until they’re brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 25 minutes.

Combine the sugar, orange extract, vanilla, and enough orange juice to make a spreadable icing, for immediate use.    If you’re not serving the rolls right away, don’t make the icing yet.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and loosen the edges with a knife. Turn them out of the pan onto a rack.     If you are planning to eat  right away,  spread with the icing and serve.

To serve the rolls later, allow them to cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.    Shortly before you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven to 250°F. Unwrap the rolls, place them on an ungreased baking sheet and cover lightly with foil.       Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re nicely warmed.   You may also opt for a quick warm up in the microwave instead.

While the rolls are reheating, make the icing.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and spread with the icing. Serve immediately.

Yield:  16 rolls

Rolled out dough spread with the marmalade filling and 1/3 chocolate filling splurge

All rolled up an snug as a bug in the pan

sweet little rolled marmalade delights

baked and cooling

turned out and awaiting the glaze

glazing complete,waiting to eat

poised for consumption. Yum!

These buns are not quite the rival to sticky buns but they are tasty and a bit simpler to put together, therefore they will be ready for consumption faster!   I do hope you try them, let me know what you think.    Until next we meet ……….. Mangia!

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