I should be writing. Instead…orange marmalade cake.

Orange marmalade cake
My wife added orange marmalade on top after the photo was taken.
Here also is one of the three bambinos.

Orange Marmalade Cake Recipe

On Super Bowl Sunday, as I watched, paused, watched, rewound, paused…well, you get the idea…the game, I took on this new recipe.

Thanks to Virginia for the inspiration to bake this O.M.C. She had blogged about this once-a-year cake a few years back.

It’s so big–needs five whole eggs and four egg yolks–that I have to abbreviate the name. [Shape Shifters Fitness Trainer–avert your eyes.]

A few broken rules:

  1. I would double the syrup and poke even more toothpick holes into the baked cake.
  2. I didn’t go three layers high. Reason? I didn’t have three round cake pans.
    Instead, I went with a two-layer rectangular cake with leftover batter for three mini-cakes. I actually preferred this approach so I could experiment with other accompaniments for the bambinos. [My favorite: key lime marmalade mixed with sour cream as a ‘dip’.]

Anyway, I enjoyed the result. [Thanks again, Virginia!] And so did my work colleagues the next day. [Plenty for them and for us at home.]

Drawback: I didn’t enjoy the way the first part of the recipe was written.

Excerpt: Cake: Sift flour, baking powder, & salt twice in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter on MEDIUM (~4 minutes). Add sugar steadily with mixer running; beat until light & fluffy. Add eggs & yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition; scrape down sides at least once. After eggs are added, continue to beat on MEDIUM for 2 minutes; add oil & beat for 1 minute on LOW. In a third bowl, combine orange zest, vanilla, & buttermilk. Using a rubber spatula, fold in half of dry ingredients. [This is where confusion set in. Based on these instructions, wouldn’t you fold half of the dry ingredients into the bowl of the zest, vanilla, and buttermilk?]

If I rewrote this, I would have gone with:

Set up three bowls for the varied ingredients.

  1. The largest bowl for the butter, sugar, eggs, and oil. You will be adding the rest of the ingredients here.
  2. A bowl large enough for 3+ cups of sifted dry ingredients.
  3. A bowl large enough for the orange zest, a cup of buttermilk, and the vanilla.

I valiantly rose above the confusing instructions because, well, we’re talkin’ dessert here.

Give it a try.

Gooooood stuff!

I should be writing. Instead…a quick bread.




The moist center is from the ‘swirl’ ingredients.

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

But I skipped the chocolate chips in the swirl and added some molasses. [My wife is having the lawyer draw up the divorce papers as I write this.] I also added dried cranberries.


  • The bread looks a little flat. Rationalization: I like ‘dense’. She suggested that I use more leavener. I actually [this time] followed the recipe and added the suggested amount of baking powder. I wonder if I added too much–Bridget Lancaster of American’s Test Kitchen once warned against overdoing it because the result might be a welcome rise…followed by an unwelcome slump. Shrug. Hand me another piece of the bread. The coffee’s ready.
  • Amazing how much post-baking cleanup can be accomplished when you set the timer for five minutes.
  • Siri loves a good countdown.



I should be writing. Instead…Jillicious Bakery

Jillicious 2Jillicious 1

in Philomath, Oregon.

We are savoring Jill’s presence here, as she is looking to sell!

She loves baking [as the photos suggest], but she’s looking for a change in routine. Can’t fault her there.

Her berry scones had already sold out, but there were plenty of other choices, including the unphotographed chocolate decadence cake [it’s like eating a candy bar with a fork] and additional trays of cupcakes.

But for now, if you know of anybody with comparable personality and baking skills, let them know of this site’s availability.

I’ll even volunteer to be an official taster.

Writers Horoscope December 29: Tethered to your work?

If not, latch on to another tidbit from Joel at LifeHack…

If you’re not on a tight deadline, walk away
and do something completely unrelated.

nonnas biscotti reduced

Like biscotti, for instance.

First of all, more than a few of us are never on a tight deadline. [A common obstacle to productivity, by the way.]

So, when inspiration from pen and keyboard is lacking, well, what is more unrelated than Nonna’s Biscotti?

As I shared with a friend tonight: Writing just doesn’t feed the soul like mixing sugar, flour, and eggs and seeing something concrete [and tasty] emerge, as opposed to something abstract and lifeless [my writing].

Note: My wife’s eyes lit up when I suggested that there was no reason half of these raisin-walnut cookies couldn’t be dipped in chocolate.

Another note: I don’t use almond extract. To put it bluntly, yick. Just seems too fake. I’d just as soon add extra vanilla. Or, as the recipe includes, brandy.



I should be writing. Instead…Cafe Beaujolais Coffee Cake.

cafe beaujolais coffee cake reduced

Actually, I was writing.

But this was more fun.

Nestled in the northern half of the cake is a cup of chocolate chips for my wife, who would probably drop a few into tuna salad if it didn’t send me summoning a divorce lawyer.

[Ssssshhh, don’t tell her I poured in a little molasses with the buttermilk mixture.]

This has been one of our go-to recipes for close to two decades.

There is nothing more comforting on a December Sunday afternoon than hot coffee with this decadent departure from ‘store-bought’.