Our Adventures in Baking ~ Chewy Italian Rolls

My wife has twice baked a new bread roll recipe found on King Arthur Flour’s website called ‘Chewy Italian Rolls’ – and they’re so delicious they’ve become a regular breakfast roll of ours! ūüôā The crust is nice and firm, with a delicate crunch right out of the oven, and these rolls have a real heft to them that you can feel in your hand from their weight, but the secret is when you bite into one and their chewy, flavorful taste invites you to eat the entire batch in one sitting!

The second batch of Chewy Italian Rolls made 10 rolls, as opposed to the first batch of 8 rolls that the recipe calls for. ¬†My wife freezes these rolls two at a time in freezer bags, and then warms them up for 10 minutes in a 350 degree F oven for our breakfast – tasting just as delicious and yummy as when first baked! ¬†I’ll let my wife’s photos tell the rest of the story ~ enjoy! ūüôā

One of Our Favorite Cookies ~ Pecan Shortbread Cookies

One of our favorite cookie recipes is Pecan Shortbread by¬†Ina Garten, found in¬†The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and online at The Food Network dot com. ¬†My wife followed Ina’s recipe and the Pecan Shortbread cookies turned out to be wonderfully delicious! ¬†My role in the baking of desserts is, as usual: taste testing, general cleanup, dish washing and blogging. ūüôā

My aim in food blogging is to alternate between posting articles about desserts, breads, budget meals, soups and main courses – in order to share insights into our adventures in cooking and favorite recipes that you may not have attempted before ~ enjoy! ‚ėľ ūüôā

One of Our Favorite Cakes ~ 3-Layer Coconut Cake

Today’s 3-layer coconut cake is essentially the same coconut cake that I’ve posted and described before, but with a different type of frosting. ¬†You can find my original coconut cake post here at this link:


The main difference between the two cakes, is that this 3-layer coconut cake is baked in three 9″ cake pans, and then assembled with the jam of your choice and frosting between layers – my wife used blackberry jam in her cake. ¬†Another difference between cakes, is that the coconut applied to the frosting isn’t first toasted, which helps keep the cake moist.

The frosting for this cake is a Philadelphia Cream Cheese and butter icing recipe that is easily found online in a Google search. ¬†Once the cake is frosted, simply apply the shredded moist coconut evenly to the outside of the frosted cake. ¬†Make sure you keep this cake refrigerated after frosting, because of its cream cheese and butter icing. ¬†We noticed that the cake itself was not as light and fluffy as the first coconut cake was, probably due to the extra moisture of the icing and jam, as well as the cool temperature in the refrigerator – but the taste was ever so good! ¬†Enjoy! ‚ėľ ūüôā

One of Our Favorite German Cakes ~ Bienenstich Kuchen (Bee Sting Cake)

Bienenstich Kuchen or Bee Sting Cake is an exquisite cake – a treat for both the taste buds and for the eyes – and a particular favorite of mine! ¬†A simple Google Search for Bienenstich Kuchen or ¬†Bienenstich Cake, will provide as many photos, recipes and descriptions of this cake as you could ever want, describing it as a sweet, yeast dough cake filled with pastry cream, covered in caramelized almonds and glazed with honey (thus the Bee Sting Cake name). ¬†Here’s my wife’s Bienenstich Kuchen – enjoy!

Bienenstich Kuchen (Bee Sting Cake)

Bienenstich Kuchen (Bee Sting Cake)

One of Our Favorite Cakes ~ Marzipankuchen (Almond Cake)

One of life’s simple pleasures is enjoying a slice of a wonderful looking and tasting cake, and today’s baking creation fits the bill exactly! ¬†It’s essentially a variation of a recipe by Paula Deen called ‘Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Grilled Plums’ – without the grilled plums. ¬†One of the things we like the best about this cake, is that the cream cheese in the recipe not only imparts great flavor, but also results in a beautifully moist cake. ¬†As usual, my role in cake baking is licking the bowls, doing the dishes, taste appreciation and blogging, while my better half creates baking magic in the kitchen! ūüôā

My wife used to use full-size cake forms in the old days, but these days we can’t afford the calories of enjoying full-size slices of cake for ‘coffee & cake’ in the afternoon each day, so she now bakes her cakes in small-size baking forms. ¬†The advantage of using small-size baking forms, besides enjoying fewer calories, is that a normal recipe usually makes for two small cakes, as well as six or eight cupcakes – and all the extra portions freeze beautifully for enjoying later. Psychologically speaking, a slice of a small cake still gives you all the flavor and satisfaction of having cake without feeling deprived – and without all the extra calories! ūüėČ Just make sure you adjust the baking time, as two small cakes will bake quicker than one full-size cake.

My wife toasts slivered almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet in the oven for extra flavor at about 350 degrees F for several minutes (depending on your oven), and watches them continuously for a hint of golden color and the pleasing aroma of almonds, prior to immediately taking them out of the oven and removing them from the baking sheet before they’re overdone or burnt. ¬†She toasts an entire bag of slivered almonds in one batch and freezes what isn’t needed for later, which can also be served over fruit salad, ice cream, etc.

She then makes a simple icing of powdered sugar, a small amount of milk, and in this case a drop or two of almond extract for flavor to ice the cooled cake.  Her technique is to let the icing flow artfully down the sides of the cake and then immediately sprinkles it with the toasted slivered almonds before the icing dries, so the almonds adhere properly.  For all the chocolate lovers out there, another variation for this cake is to substitute a chocolate glaze for the icing, either with or without the toasted slivered almonds Рhave fun with it and make it your own!  This cake both looks and tastes wonderful Рenjoy!

Marzipankuchen (Almond Cake)

One of Our Favorite German Cakes ~ Streuselkuchen

One of our favorite German cakes that my wife bakes, is what I call a ‘rustic farmhouse cake’ called¬†Streuselkuchen or Streusel Cake. ¬†My role in the process of baking German cakes is doing the dishes, and enjoying the experience of eating them during ‘coffee & cake’ at our house, which we have at 3:00 p.m. each day. ūüôā¬†Coffee & Cake, or¬†Kafee und Kuchen in German,¬†is my favorite German tradition, where one traditionally pauses at 4:00 p.m. for coffee along with a piece of cake, cookies, or pastry before resuming the day.

My wife uses a traditional family¬†Streuselkuchen recipe passed down through the generations in Germany, but you can find a similar one in any good German cookbook or baking website. ¬†While the basic ingredients and recipes for¬†Streuselkuchen are all pretty similar, my wife does add a few variations to the theme in her¬†Streuselkuchen, which I’ll describe below.

The basic concept of a Streuselkuchen is that it is comprised of an enriched yeast cake bottom dough made of flour, yeast, sugar, milk, butter and eggs.  The cake bottom dough is then topped with a crumbly streusel layer made of sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon.

My wife’s variation is to spread a thin layer of sour cream on the cake bottom dough and sprinkle it with cinnamon prior to applying the streusel topping. ¬†The sour cream adds moisture and acts as a binder to hold the crumbly streusel topping in place. ¬†Another variation is to place sliced apples on the sour cream layer before sprinkling with cinnamon and adding the crumble streusel topping, which is then called Apfelstreusel (Apple Streusel Cake). ¬†The apple slices add an element of apple pie taste to the cake, but the extra moisture the apple slices add prevents it from freezing well, so this version should be eaten fresh after baking. ¬†The standard version with the additional layer of sour cream and cinnamon freezes wonderfully, tasting as if it had just been baked after thawing out.

Once the cake bottom dough, sour cream, cinnamon and streusel topping have been assembled, sprinkle the cake with some additional cinnamon for flavor and color, and bake.  For my taste, the more uneven the dough rises during baking, the more rustic and authentic it appears ~ enjoy!

German Christmas Cookies ~ Spritzgeb√§ck

I’ve always wanted my wife to start her own blog to share the photos of her baking, cooking and fine lace crochet work over the years, and she’s agreed to allow me to share her work here on my blog. ¬†I’ll share the photos of her recent baking projects with you first, and then future posts over time as she completes new baking projects. ¬†Unless otherwise mentioned, the baked products are her own work, and my role is simply to enjoy eating them! ūüôā Today’s feature is one of our favorite German Christmas cookies from this past Christmas called Spritzgeb√§ck. ¬†The recipe is her family’s recipe passed down through the generations, but probably not so different from any other¬†Spritzgeb√§ck recipe found online at a German baking site ~ enjoy! ‚ėľ ūüôā

Our Artisan Bread ~ Round Three

This is round three of my wife and I baking artisan bread using a King Arthur Flour‚Äô recipe for ‚ÄėNo-Knead Crusty White Bread‚Äô ‚Äď the third and last of three batches from the original batch of dough from the recipe. This recipe is a keeper, producing wonderfully tasting bread with a well textured crust and a nice dispersion of air holes throughout the loaf. ¬†Our next adventure in baking will be to pick out another different recipe and begin experimenting with a variety of bread recipes, and I’ll share the results here with you. ¬†In the meantime, enjoy the photos of our third loaf of artisan bread!

Baking Our First Artisan Bread

Today my wife and I baked our first loaf of artisan bread using a King Arthur Flour’ recipe for ‘No-Knead Crusty White Bread’ – the result tastes even better than our loaf of bread looks like in the photographs – and there’s dough enough left in the refrigerator for baking two more loaves in the coming days! ‚ėľ ūüôā