buttermilk layer cake with chocolate frosting

Classic birthday cake

I’d love to have a yellow layer cake recipe in my list of go-to recipes — those recipes that I know work, taste great, and don’t demand great feats (or fancy ingredients) to make. I’ve made a couple of attempts at this classic (once as a small layer cake and cupcakes, and as mini vanilla cupcakes). And those were made with freshly milled soft white wheat flour. For my husband’s birthday, I splurged on cake flour that I had leftover in the pantry rather than whole wheat. So I was able to follow a recipe for buttermilk cake as written. Well, almost….

Baked croissants


Croissants have been on my list of things to make for quite some time. My goal is to come as close to the French style as possible — crispy on the outside, with tender, buttery layers on the inside. But for a variety of reasons this project kept getting pushed to the back of the line. For one thing, I wanted to make my first batch of them following the traditional instructions that call for all purpose flour, in order to get the feel of what the experience would be like under normal conditions before using home-milled whole wheat flour. And since…

Ginger spice apple cake

6-inch ginger spice apple cake

When I read Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe, the recipe for Apple Snacking Spice Cake jumped out at me as a must-make. I made an apple cake once before that was delicious, but didn’t include the ginger and cloves. I cut the recipe in half in order to use my smaller 6-inch cake pan, which I bought so we wouldn’t have so much cake sitting around the house. It came together really well at this size. It’s not too rich or sweet, and is a really pleasant little cake, somewhat similar to an unfrosted carrot cake. It would also be…

Basics of French pastry class

Recipes profiteroles (pate au choux) with praline pastry cream lemon curd tart with meringue Class notes The tart crust was too bitter for my taste because of the vodka we added to the dough, and the meringue didn’t have enough time to set up so was a bit runny. The profiteroles (pate au choux) seemed a bit undercooked, but were tasty. The praline paste the chef made from scratch is amazing — would like to try that in the future. I’m glad I had this experience, but I realized I don’t have the patience for a casual, social class like this. I’d…

Roasted vegetable tart

Roasted vegetable tart (pre-grain mill)

Recipe Roasted Vegetable Tart by Yotam Ottolenghi found on bonappetit.com Process notes prepared dough and vegetables ahead of time to make baking the day-of quicker baked using convection baking setting Results This was my main vegetarian dish for our family Thanksgiving dinner and it was pretty spectacular. It was a bit dry, either because of the convection setting or because I baked it too long. It was a lot of work, but I’d make it again.

Homemade white bread

Homemade white sandwich bread

This is the loaf that got me rolling on making bread from scratch at home. It was so exhilarating to see the dough rise properly, bake properly, and taste like real bread! For me, the significance of this loaf is huge. It’s led to a journey of learning more about healthy whole grain cooking and baking, and to a greater level of self-reliance. It’s so much more than a plain loaf of white bread.