When there’s a nip in the air and noses are red, there are some treats that hit the spot better than others. Here are some favorites. Enjoy!!
Plum Cake: This moist, lemony plum cake needs little more than a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. If you like, though, a dollop of sour cream is a delicious accompaniment.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 plums, halved, pitted, and cut into eighths
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-by-2-inch or a 9-inch cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated; beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in 1/2 the flour mixture, then sour cream. Add remaining flour mixture; mix just until combined.
- Spread batter into pan and smooth top with a knife. In a bowl, toss plums with 2 tablespoons flour and sprinkle over batter.
- Bake until cake is golden, about 30 minutes; loosely tent with foil and bake until cake pulls away from side of pan and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes more. Let cake cool completely in pan. Run knife around cake edge and remove cake from pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Old Fashioned Gingerbread: This is the kind of gingerbread Grandma used to make: simply spiced and incredibly moist. It’s wonderful with a glass of milk or a scoop of eggnog ice cream.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup mild molasses
- 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1/2 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
Whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg until blended, then beat in molasses and buttermilk. Mix in flour mixture on low speed until smooth, then add hot water and beat 1 minute (batter may look curdled.)
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until a wooded pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack.
Make ahead: Gingerbread can be made 1 day ahead and kept in pan at room temperature (covered once cool).
Tiramisu Cake: A delicious way to treat yourself as you curl up by a warm fire
- 1 box (18.25 oz) devils food cake mix, prepared as box directs, substituting coffee for the water
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp freshly made espresso or strong coffee
- 2 Tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua, optional)
- 2 tubs (8 oz) mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Garnish: unsweetened cocoa powder and coffee beans
Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9-in. baking pan with foil, letting foil extend slightly above the pan at both ends. Coat foil with nonstick spray.
Spread cake batter in prepared pan. Bake as box directs. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Holding foil ends, lift from pan. Trim rounded top off cake with a long serrated knife until flat. Holding foil ends, lift cake and return cake to pan.
Mix 1?4 cup espresso and the liqueur in a small bowl; brush over top of cake.
Stir mascarpone and remaining espresso in a large bowl until blended. Beat cream and sugar in a medium bowl on high speed until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Fold into cheese mixture until smooth. Spread over cake, adding swirls with back of a spoon.
Lightly dust cake with cocoa stirred through a strainer. Cut in squares; cut squares diagonally in half. Garnish with coffee beans.
Planning Tip: Can be completed up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate covered.