Wait. A Cake?

Hard to believe but I’ve only baked one cake this year. And in the last two days of 2017 to boot. I figured such an occasion deserved to leap-frog over anything else I had planned. I an not to proud to admit that I think cakes are my baking weakness. I’ve so rarely made one that I’ve been pleased with (though I’ve baked, shared, and shipped many. Heck, I think making puff pastry easier than making a good cake. 

Enter: Zingerman’s Bakehouse Cookbook and the Sour Cream and Walnut Coffee Cake found therein. My brother- and sister-in-law shipped us cheese and smoked meat gift boxes from Zingerman’s, when they lived in Wisconsin, so I knew of the company but not their history of baked goods. It was a revelation to peruse the copy I received for Christmas. I love the way the recipes are laid out (with measurements in U.S. and metric units – which I prefer to use), the accompanying photography, and the overall design. I’d get it if I were you.

I love coffee cake and figured this would be an excellent inaugural bake from the book. I think my instincts were on the money.


Because it’s the end of the year, an I’m feeling exceedingly lazy, I’m posting pictures of the recipe pages instead of transcribing them as I’m trying to make my standard here. Also, you’ll get to see why I think this book is so cool!

I had some issues with this recipe, mainly because, as I said, cakes aren’t my forte. I have a difficult time estimating just how much is “one-third of the batter”. I think next time I’m going to weigh the bowl and then do the math because I don’t think I got it quite right. And I also have problems with “smooth it (the batter) evenly…with a spoon”. I’m just so clumsy with cake batter. Also, I think I’m going to have to test my oven at lower temperatures. This took longer to bake all the way through than the recipe called for. Despite all this, I baked a pretty danged good coffee cake!

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but I think I’m going to make an exception to that rule: in 2018, I will make more than one cake that makes me feel like I know what the heck I’m doing.

Currently listening to: E.L.O. – Shine A Little Love and Djavan – Doidice (Madness)

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jeff Boice

    Okay, I’m grabbing copies of both the Zingerman’s and Carol Cutler books!

    1. Carlton Baker II

      You won’t go wrong with either of those books, Jeff! Zingerman’s has so many great recipes that it’s become a go-to for me when I’m planning a menu for gatherings, and Carol Cutler’s has given quite a bit of confidence over the years.

  2. Jeff Boice

    I haven’t done any baking since I moved into this house 6 years ago, but I used to make both tortillas and red velvet cake a few times a year, and dabble with scones, shortbread, and biscotti. I’ve always wanted to become a real bread baker. I’m retired now, and this might just be the year! ?

    1. Carlton Baker II

      I never thought I’d be a bread baker but I got hooked a decade ago when my first two loaves (baked in preparation for Hurricane Sandy hitting NYC) turned out pretty good. That’s how they get you! lol! I’ve had more headaches with bread dough than I have ibuprofen to take for them but I’m thrilled with the process and am happy for every success and disaster that’s happened along the way. I’ve done all of those that you mention above, except tortillas (but those are on the list). I got bogged down at work over the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been able to post the shortbread story. Soon, though!

      1. Jeff Boice

        Looking forward to it! Glad you’re back in the saddle! ?

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