November 2009: Fourth Slice
Now available for pre-order
A Word from Anne
|Good Morning Texas! in Dallas, with host Amy Vanderoef|
It’s book tour time, and I’m writing this newsletter before I catch an early morning flight to Atlanta, the next stop with The Cake Mix Doctor Returns.
I’ve learned through the years that in addition to an apron and some bright blue TV blouses, the most important thing I should pack is a smile. OK, some hand sanitizer, comfortable flats, vitamins, and a favorite thin black Sharpie for signing books, too.
When my kids were little I recall the bliss of an empty hotel room, room service, and a good book. I still like that. But now I look forward to seeing my old friends in every town, the media escorts whom I have gotten to know, who have awakened early to dash me to TV, stayed up late baking my cakes, and have gotten drenched in the rain so I could hold their umbrella and stay dry. I’m always reminded what a small world it is, too.
At my New York City signing a couple of weeks ago, in walks our community board moderator T. Martin, a student at Columbia University. Then in walks a college friend, Chris Marshburn, whom I had not seen in 30 years! I never dreamed when writing these cookbooks that the most rewarding part would be meeting and reconnecting with people along the way. But it is, and I love it.
Happy fall baking and hope to see you on tour!
A Word from Workman
Win a trip to Nashville for you and a guest to bake with Anne from Parade magazine!
Learn first-hand how to make extraordinary cakes out of ordinary cake mix. The prize includes airfare, a two-night hotel stay, a baking lesson, tea, and cake with Anne, and signed copies of all of Anne’s books. Visit parade.com for details and how to enter.
Bits & Bytes
Best Gifts are Homemade
You heard it here – holiday baking is hotter than ever. That’s what the news stories say because the poor economy is causing us to reassess extravagant spending on gifts. But you’ve probably been baking homemade food gifts even when time were good! I surely have. We make cookies and chocolate toffee and cakes.
My Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake (p. 236) from the new book is just right for gift giving, as are all the Bundt cakes in the book. Bake them in one large pan or in several mini-Bundts, cool, then wrap in clear cellophane and tie with a bow. What was I thinking walking into a Container Store in Dallas with no suitcase space to take home the cute boxes, bins, and tags for food gifts? I can’t wait to start baking!
Tunes to Bake By
“If I knew you were coming, I’d a baked a cake,” is just the tune to listen to while baking this month. Click here to check out this recording from Eileen Barton on YouTube.
Can you think of other tunes to bake by? What about MacArthur Park’s “Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain…” or “Sugar Sugar” from the Archies? Any other suggestions? We’ll pass those along in the next newsletter.
Doctor the Doctor
You will find several new variations of my classic Darn Good Chocolate Cake in The Cake Mix Doctor Returns, but here is one more: Reader Carol Fields says she calls hers Death by White Chocolate Cake. Instead of chocolate cake mix, she uses either French vanilla or white and instead of chocolate pudding mix she uses white chocolate pudding mix. Then she folds in swirl chips instead of semisweet chocolate chips. And for the icing? “I melt vanilla and chocolate icings and pour one of the icings over the top of the Bundt cake and let it run down the sides and then I drizzle the other icing over the first. I’ve gotten rave reviews for this cake.” Yum.
Since we’ve talked so much about Bundts in this issue, I’ll include a tip for glazing them from reader Marilyn Risch of Texas. She said that after the Bundt cake has baked and been removed from the pan, place the glaze in the pan that the cake was baked in. Place the cake back in the pan and let it cool completely in the pan. The cake will soak up the glaze and when you turn it out of the pan, the cake has absorbed the glaze and there is a pretty finish on the top of the cake.
One of the most favorite cakes from the new book is Nancy’s Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake. We are baking it for book signings and festivals, and all ages love this cake. I thought the nuts in the streusel filling might not appeal to everyone, but it’s funny, in Ft. Worth last weekend, the coffee cake with pecans was the first one eaten! Texans love their pecans. So make this with or without nuts. It’s perfect for brunches and office parties this holiday season.
Nancy’s Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
Serves: 16 to 20
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 40 to 45 minutes
Cool: 20 minutes
For the cake
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pan
Flour, for dusting the pan
1 package (18.5 ounces) plain butter recipe golden
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the topping
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1. Make the cakes: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly mist two 9-inch (or one 13 by 9–inch) metal cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.
2. Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds.
Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture lightens and is smooth, 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Pour half the cake batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, dividing it evenly between them. Smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.
3. Make the topping: Combine the brown sugar, pecans, if using, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spoon half of the topping over the batter in the cake pans. Pour the remaining cake batter over the topping in the two cake pans, dividing it evenly between them. Spoon the rest of the topping over the cake batter.
4. Place the pans in the oven side by side. Bake the cakes until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cakes sit until nearly cool, 20 minutes. Slice and serve the cakes while still a bit warm.
Keep It Fresh! Store these cakes, covered with aluminum foil, at room temperature for up to four days or for up to one week in the refrigerator. Freeze the cakes in the pans, covered with aluminum foil, for up to three months. Let the cakes thaw overnight on the counter before serving.
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