Yum Yum Cake (Streusel Swirl Coffee Cake)

When I was a little girl my Mom used to make this cake. Busy Moms listen up. This is your saving grace when someone tells you need to bring something to a potluck. You can whip this thing out in no time. Two main things are key to this cake; sour cream and an angel food cake pan. Your posse won’t even blink twice over the fact it has no frosting. I’m sure there is probably another name for this cake, but I swear this is what it was always called. I’m not even messin’ with you. For reals. This was my favorite cake growing up. I mean, seriously how bad do you think it could be with a name like that? I’m here to tell you, it is amazing. To this day I am still scratching my head over this cake- how could something so simple be so good? This cake is like a surprise joy ride. It appears as if it were a plain old Chevy but one taste and you know it’s really like a brand new Cadillac. The beauty and wonder of this cake is that it is super moist and has texture. If I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again-I love texture. You know how you dive into the top of a good coffee cake because all the elements of naughty goodness coalesce into one sugar nut mass of love? Yeah, this cake has that same sugar-cinnamon nut flavor but swirls of it fused into a rich yellow moist cake. Go ahead, take it for a spin. You’ll be glad you did.

I found these really pretty paper baking pans in Michael’s by “Celebrate It”  and thought they were really pretty. The recipe makes enough for 2 of these 6 inch baking molds or one standard large angel food cake pan.


Yum Yum Cake



1 Cup Finely chopped walnuts

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

1/3 Cup light brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

(Mix together in a small bowl; set aside).


1  1/2 sticks (3/4 Cup) unsalted butter, room temp

1  1/2 Cup granulated sugar

3 Lg. eggs, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

3 Cups sifted flour

1  1/2 tsp. baking powder

1  1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

16 oz. sour cream, room temp

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an angel food cake pan well or spray with baking spray. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat to combine. Beat in vanilla to combine.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine; set aside.

3. Mix in 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the sugar/butter egg mixture and combine.  Continue to alternate mixing with 1/2 of sour cream and dry ingredients making sure to end with dry ingredients.

4. Pour 1/3 of cake batter into the pan, then add a layer of topping and pat down gently. Continue alternating batter and topping mixture like this for 3 times; ending with topping on top of cake. Bake for about 1 hour. Let cool. Do not turn cake upside down to cool.

Marcona Almond Brittle

This year I wanted to try something different instead of making peanut brittle. One of the things I love about marcona almonds is that they have a real meatiness to them and are super crunchy. I like the nuts in my brittle to be crunchy. Ever get a brittle where the nuts are kind of gummy and soft and not that crunchy? These nuts will provide the crunch you are looking for.

Marcona Almond Brittle

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup

1/4 Cup water

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 Cup Marcona almonds

2 Tbsp. soft unsalted butter

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Prepare a cookie sheet pan by greasing it or place a Silpat silicone liner on the sheet pan. Grease a large heat proof spatula with a small amount of butter or a metal spatula.

Measure out the baking soda, butter, and vanilla and place next to the stove for later.

In a heavy 2 quart sauce pan bring to a boil the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, do not stir the mixture [If the mixture starts to form any sugar crystals on the side of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to wipe the sides of the pan]. With a candy thermometer, bring to a boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 310°. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the almonds, butter, baking soda and stir briskly. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture all at once out onto the sheet pan and using a heat proof or greased spatula, spread the brittle out as much as you can to create an even surface. Let the pan cool on a wire rack until completely cool. Crack into pieces.

{Printable Recipe}:


Mini Pecan Pie Bites and Standard Size Bourbon Pecan Pie

My Mom used to make these pecan pie bites during the Holidays. Some of you may know them as pecan tassies. They are 3 bites of pecan pie nirvana. If you’ve been asked to bring dessert as part of your contribution to Thanksgiving potluck or a Holiday party this is a nice alternative.  Carting a whole pecan pie in your car while driving with one hand maneuvering the streets and hills of San Francisco can be a little hairy.

I’m just sayin’….

Pecan pie bites are the perfect alternative when you want a little bit of pecan pie but don’t want to make an entire pie. Having a whole pie sitting around in the house can be a little too tempting. I have just one piece of advice. Get them out of the house! bring them to a friend or relative. Last week at Weight Watchers we had to sit down and figure out the points on every typical thing you eat on Thanksgiving. A slice of pecan pie came in at 14 points. Yikes; that’s like half my day of points right there. I have included a recipe for a standard size 9 inch pecan pie as well for my folks who need to make a regular pie.

Mini Pecan Pie Bites

(yields 24 mini bites)


1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, room temp

1 Cup all-purpose flour

3 oz. cream cheese, room temp

You will need 2 nonstick mini muffin tins or one (24 well) mini muffin tin to equal 24 mini muffin cups. Cut butter and cream cheese into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add the flour and mix together with a fork until all ingredients are incorporated together and resemble pie crust. Divide dough into 2 equal parts.  Form dough into 24 balls, about 3/4 inch in diameter. Place one ball in the well of a non stick mini-muffin tin(s); with your fingers flatten the dough around each muffin cup to form a crust.

Pecan Filling

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon melted butter

pinch of salt

1/2 Cup chopped pecans

3/4 Cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. bourbon

Mix the filling together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide the filling among the muffin tins, using a teaspoon. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° degrees and bake for 10 minutes longer.

Cool tins on a rack. When cool, remove carefully from tins, using a sharp knife if necessary to slip out. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving. A drizzle with melted chocolate would also be divine.

Printable Recipe:


Bourbon Pecan Pie

{Make one 9-inch pie}


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 stick butter, cubed and kept cold until ready to use

3-4 tablespoons ice water

Make crust: In large bowl, whisk flour, salt, and sugar together. Add butter and using fingers or pastry blender, blend until coarse meal forms. Sprinkle ice water onto mixture and continue blending until dough comes together. Form into round, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least one hour.

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1/2 cup dark corn syrup  (I don’t like my filling too dark; but you can go with all dark syrup if you like and increase the amount to 3/4 cup total and erase the light corn syrup)

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 Tablespoon vanilla

3 Tablespoons bourbon

1  1/2 Cups toasted pecans; coarsely chopped

3 Tbsp. whole pecans (for top of pie)
Prepare Crust: Roll out dough to 12- to 13-inch round, then transfer to an 9 inch pie plate and crimp edges as desired. Chill empty pie shell 15 minutes. Using fork, poke holes on bottom and sides of pie crust. Line dish with parchment paper, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown, 20 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool to room  temperature. Lower oven temperature to 375°

Make Filling:

In medium saucepan over moderate heat, heat butter, brown  sugar, and salt, stirring, until sugar is melted and butter is absorbed, about 2  minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the light and dark corn syrup, vanilla, and bourbon. Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring  constantly, until mixture appears glossy and is warm to the touch, about 4 minutes.
Pour toasted pecan pieces into pie shell, then pour filling  over pecans. Place the whole pecans on top of the filling; distribute them evenly over the top. Bake for 50 minutes at 375 degrees until the center of the filling is slightly soft. Transfer to rack and let cool 3 to 4 hours.

Happy Holidays


{Bourbon Pecan Pie Printable Recipe}:


Sweet Spiced Almonds

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t…

I feel like a nut

Yes, I am a nut 😉

I want a nut.

I want a sweet, spicy, salty crunchy nut.

This recipe rings all my nut bells. Sweet, spicy, super crunchy, and the best of all? super easy.


Sweet Spiced Almonds

(recipe from America’s test kitchen “All Time Best Holiday Recipes”)

1 large egg white

1 Tablespoon water

1 tsp. salt (I used 2 tsp. instead)

1 lb. raw unsalted almonds

1/2 Cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon (preferable saigon cinnamon)

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground coriander

1. Adjust oven racks to that you have one rack on each upper position and one at middle position. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with non-stick spray.

3. Whisk together egg white, water, and salt in a large bowl. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Let the nuts drain thoroughly in a colander for 4-5 minutes.

4. Mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander in a large bowl. Add the drained nuts and toss to coat with the sugar/spice mixture. Spread the nuts evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes on upper rack. After 20 minutes move the sheet to the middle rack and continue backing 20-25 minutes until the nuts are dry and crisp. Cool nuts completely.

Printable Recipe:


“Payday Cookie Bars”

Is there a happier word than payday?…. Okay, maybe “weekend”.  These bar cookies are a bit like a payday candy bar. They are salty and sweet.

I love salty/sweet. Yin and Yang, Lucy and Desi, Tom and Jerry, opposites are good, no?

Have you noticed there seems to be a lot of salty/sweet recipes these days? If you like salty/sweet treats, this is your recipe. I adapted this recipe slightly from a cookie recipe found in the cookbook: The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle. I made this recipe once a couple of years ago and brought them to work. People asked, what are those things? [in a good way]. I needed a favor from a co-worker and I told her I would make her ANYTHING SHE WANTED for a favor and this is the cookie she chose, so there ‘ya go. The next time you are craving something salty/sweet

(or you need to bribe someone) give these a try. 😉

Payday Cookie Bars

recipe adapted from “crunchy peanut bars” in  The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle


1   1/4 C all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 C firmly packed light brown sugar

Peanut topping

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

2/3 C light corn syrup

1   2/3 Cups (10 oz.) peanut butter chips

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2   1/4 Cups (12 oz.) salted “party” peanuts

Caramel drizzle

20 Kraft caramels; unwrapped

1 Tbsp. heavy cream

fleur de sel (sea salt)

Make the crust:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 inch pan by lining the pan in both directions with double thickness aluminum foil; allowing about 2 inches of overhang on each end.  Lightly spray the foil with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. At low-speed, add the flour mixture and mix just until crumbly, 10-15 seconds.

4. Pat the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough well with a fork. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the topping. Leave the oven on.

Make the topping:

5. In a large saucepan,, combine the butter, corn syrup, and peanut butter chips and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

6. Pour the topping over the crust, using a spatula to spread it to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the peanuts evenly over the topping, and press them lightly into the topping. Bake the bars for 18-25 minutes, until the topping is bubbly. Cool the bars completely in the pan on a wire rack.

7. Lift out the bars from the pan in one whole piece and carefully peel off the foil. *Make the caramel drizzle as below.  Drizzle the caramel over the bars in a diagonal pattern. Sprinkle with fleur de sel or sea salt. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut into bars.

*Caramel drizzle:

1. In a medium nonstick saucepan on low heat combine the caramels and the heavy cream until melted. Save the fleur de sel to sprinkle over the bars once you drizzle the caramel.


Happy Baking,