Today, I want to bring you a trusted friend, a book that I have used numerous times to bake cakes that are healthy and delicious at the same time. I am not sure why I never heard anyone talking about this one, but for me this is really one of the most useful baking books. You see – cooking is easy, whether you put a bit more or less of one thing or the other, you can always play it by your personal taste.
In baking, however, measurements matter. You really don’t want to throw out a cake if you put too much or too little of something. I do manage to experiment a bit anyway, but usually with something that I’ve made a few times before.
Before talking about the recipes though, I have to go back to the history of this book in my life.
In Russia I didn’t have many cookbooks, although it seems that whatever money we had, we used it to buy books. Most of them, though, we had to leave behind as we were only allowed two measly bags per person to be taken with us. Besides, cookbooks were hard to find. The only one I remember in my house growing up was, of course, “книга о вкусной и здоровой пище” (the book about tasty and healthy food) – a staple in every household published in Stalin’s times. I think my mom had a couple more tiny ones, but that’s all.
When I came to New York, I started working in a big corporate travel agency (thanks to my IATA diploma, which I got after graduating a rigorous course – one of the few good moves I made in my life). After a little while I started to work on what was called “publishing desk”. This meant that we were booking author tours all over the country and sometimes even the world. Working with the publishes and authors was really hard, too many demands changing too often, so after a successful tour we sometimes got little gifts – books! The authors happened to be cookbook authors, so the books – cookbooks! Since I was the only kosher observant person on the desk, the kosher ones went to me. I cherish them a lot!
This amazing book was, I think, the first one I got, and most likely the most used until today. It brings lots of parve recipes that can be baked a day or sometimes two before, which is really what you need if you are observant and are hosting guests for Shabbat or holiday.
One of my favorite, really foolproof recipes is the orange-cranberry cake.
The author, Penny Wantuck Eisenberg, recommend it to be made for Sukkot, which is great, but I found that you can really bake it any time from cranberries that have been sitting in your freezer forever. It’s that good! And – that easy!
Another of mine and the whole family favorites is the date and apple cake. While the batter seems threateningly think, not to worry. It will bake nicely into a moist and not too sweet delight (I do actually use even less sugar than she recommends). I will be happy to post a recipe should you guys want one. Just comment below.
All of the recipes are very doable, and much healthier that you would expect the dessert recipe to be.
The pages of my book are all stained from all kinds of ingredient drops on the them, but that’s what shows that the book is always used, no?
Wishing you happy baking!
There have been so many comments on my facebook asking for the recipe for the date & apple cake, that I decided it was time to post it here as well. I am not sure if folks can even find this book on sale now, so here it goes as a public service. Enjoy:
Apple Date Bundt Cake:
Big – about 15 nice portion servings
2 3/4 cups (330 grams flour) – I use all purpose and almond or spelt mix
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
0.5 tsp cinnamon (if you love it, add more)
3/4 cups dates chopped
3/4 cups walnuts or almonds chopped
2 cups sugar (I use raw or cane)
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup applesauce – any kind
1 tbsp vanilla extract or a bit of vanilla sugar
2 medium apples better tart
1 tbsp lemon juice – for apples to stay fresh while cutting
Preheat the oven to 325F, prepare a large bundt pan or any pan really by spraying it nicely with oil spray.
Sift together all dry ingredients, then stir in dates and nuts.
In a mixer bowl or any big bowl beat the eggs, whites, oil, applesauce and vanilla.
Chop apples into small chink (peeled) and use lemon juice to mix while you are chopping everything.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix – it will be VERY thick. Add apples and mix. Don’t be frightened, you will have to put in in the pan spoon by spoon.
Bake for about 70-80 minutes, check after an hour. You need no most crumbs attached to the toothpick, but still moist enough.
The cake will be even better next day if store in an airtight container.