Ohhhh, you said Cake, not Cheesecake..

This coming Tuesday (June 5th) is Book Club in Truckee.  This month I am the hostess.  I’ve purchased some interesting books to share:

Salt (the history of Salt – with recipes): Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.

Last Train to Paradise celebrates a crowning achievement of Gilded Age ambition in a sweeping tale of the powerful forces of human ingenuity colliding with the even greater forces of nature’s wrath.mpires, and inspired revolutions.  Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Kurlansky’s kaleidoscopic history is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.

Unbroken:  On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

To go with the new books (we carry about 30 books within our group to choose from)  I am called up to provide appetizers and dessert..


So, you would like an elegant summer cake?

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment.
2  1/3 cups cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for pan
2  1/2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blackberries
1/4 cup plus 1  1/3 cups sugar (used at different times)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 cup well shaken buttermilk (not low fat)
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Don’t forget the parchment paper…
Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour, tap out excess. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; spring evenly with 1/4 cup of sugar.
Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at med-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 min.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla & zest. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with bettermile in 2 additions, beginning & ending with flour mixture & beating just until incorporated.  Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top.
Bake until cake is golden brown and  cake bounces back when pressed gently with fingertip, about 1 hour 25 minutes for a 9″ pan/1 hour for a 10″ pan.  Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife (I use a metal spatula) around the edge of the pan to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment. Dust top generously with powdered sugar and cool completely.  (The let cool part never seems to happen in my house).

Simply, I Want Cheesecake

I make this easy dessert at least once a month and nobody complains…


12 ounces cream cheese (softened)  that’s a package and 1/2
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on your taste or how fast you want the kids to go around the kitchen)
2 eggs, well beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
Mix cream cheese and sugar; add eggs, vanilla & salt.  Pour into purchased graham cracker pie crust (I’m lazy)
Bake in 375 degree oven (may need to be a bit less) on bottom shelf for 20 minutes
When cool, (15 minutes), add topping, sprinkle on some cracker crumbs if you choose.
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt.
When cool, store in frig for at least 5 hours (it never stays in my frig that long – lock the door)
I put a tablespoon of fresh lemon and lemon zest in the filling to brighten it up…
Check-in every week for a new can’t live with0ut (well maybe not) recipe