Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Crumb Cake / Homemade Cake Flour Substitute

Ahhh….  Entenmann’s!
Anyone who grew up in New York knows about Entenmann’s.
Entenmann’s has been a part of New York's life for over 100 years.

They perfected their marketing when they invented the "see-through" cake box.
We saw it while Ma was picking up her basics.
After enough begging, Ma surrendered and bought a cake.
We enjoyed it.

Even Ma enjoyed it.
But not enough to make a habit of buying a store bought cake every week.

If you’ve never had an Entenmann’s cake, despair not.
Ma asked around and got a recipe from another mom, who also wasn’t going to admit defeat by buying a store bought cake every week.
Moms, in those days, had their pride, and their ways.

I just heard that Entenmann’s has stopped baking in Bay Shore.
What next?  Will the Pope leave Rome?


If you don’t have cake flour, DO NOT substitute regular flour.
It just won’t work.
You can make a substitute, but it’s going to take a little effort…

Homemade Cake Flour Substitute

Measure out 
10 Cups all-purpose flour  
Remove 1 1/3 Cup flour and put it back in your canister. 
Replace the removed flour with 1 1/3 Cup cornstarch.
Sift flour 5 times.  Yes… 5 times.  
Sifting will help combine the mixture and lighten and aerate the flour.
Use the amount called for in the recipe and store the rest.

If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute an equal amount of plain, low-fat yogurt.

This recipe was developed when no one had ever heard of cholesterol.
If you’d like to make it a bit healthier, substitute for the cup of butter in the topping:
1/2 Cup margarine 
3 ounces oil

About the 2 eggs and 2 yolks… you can substitute 3 large eggs.
Every little bit helps.

                        Crumb Cake

For the Crumb Topping
In a small bowl mix together 
2/3 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Cup unsalted butter, melted and still warm
3 1/2 Cups cake flour 
Stir until the mixture is a solid dough.
Set aside to cool.

For the Cake
Place the oven rack in the upper-middle position.
Preheat oven to 325º
Grease 2 8-inch square baking pans

In a large mixer bowl place
2 1/2 Cups cake flour
1 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat at low speed just to combine.
Add one piece at a time
3/4 Cup unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened 
Beat until the mixture looks like crumbs.
There should not be any butter chunks visible.

2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 Cup buttermilk
Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Spread the cake batter in the prepared pans.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the batter into an even layer. 

Break apart the crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread the pieces in an even layer over the batter.
Do not push the crumbs into the batter.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes.
The crumbs should be a golden brown.
A toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Place the pans on a wire rack.
Let the cake cool at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving dust with 
confectioners' sugar 

Cooled leftovers can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.
In our family - there were 5 of us - it didn’t last that long!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Caramel Apple Cheesecake

In January, 2010 I was a food blogging newbie.
And I made mistakes.
Yeah… I did.

Cheesecakes are serious food business.
Just as a recap, here are cheesecake recipes I’ve posted over the years:

I am not going to make any comments.
Hey, I finally learned my lesson.

I recently posted the recipe for Ma’s Apple Cinnamon Bread.
Ma also sometimes added chopped apples to cheesecake.
She had found the recipe in the New York Daily News.
And, no, I am not going to make any comments!


The original recipe called for cooking the caramel topping in a double boiler.
Well, the recipe hade been published in the 50s.
It is now the twenty-first century.
Microwave ovens have replaced double boilers, thank goodness!

                              Caramel Apple Cheesecake 

In a small bowl combine
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Set aside.

For the Crumb Topping

In a small bowl mix together 
1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup margarine
Mix until everything is in pea-sized pieces.
Set aside.

For the Crust

Preheat oven to 350º
In a medium bowl mix together 
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup margarine
3 ounces oil
Cut in until the mixture is crumbly.
Press the crumbs into a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the Cheesecake

In a large mixer bowl place
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 Cup sugar
Beat at medium speed until smooth.

Add, one at a time
3 large eggs
Scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, beat well after each addition.
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix in just until done.
Pour over the warm crust.
Spoon the prepared apples evenly over the cream cheese mixture.
Sprinkle the crumb topping over the apples. 
Bake 45 minutes, or until filling is set. 
Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours. 

For the Caramel Topping
Place in a microwaveable bowl
20 caramels
1/4 Cup milk
Stirring every 30 seconds, microwave until caramels are completely melted.
(on HIGH for about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes)
Remove from microwave and stir until blended. 
Cool 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Drizzle over cake.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hello, Autumn 2014 by Margaret Ullrich

About a month ago I said goodbye to summer, but yesterday was officially the start of Autumn.
The Sun entered the constellation Libra and that marked the Fall Equinox.

I realize it marked the Spring Equinox for south of the equator, but I have enough trouble with being focused on where I am living right now.
So, my apologies to folks south of the equator. 

Equinox is from Latin and means equal.
Day and night were equal yesterday, for both sides of the equator.
Makes sense.
Libra is a sign most interested in equality and fairness. 
Being equal for everybody like that is just being fair or just being a Libra.

A friend asked if I really believe in all this astrology stuff.
In the play Hamlet Horatio has a hard time believing he’d just seen a ghost.
I agree with what Shakespeare had Hamlet say: There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Now the ghost was pretty much a major player in Hamlet.
So, whether or not Horatio believed, the ghost was calling some of the shots.
...there are more things in Heaven and Earth…

There is a bit of science to all this star gazing.
Libra is home to the star Gliese 581, which has at least 6 planets.
Gliese 581 c is the first Earth-like extrasolar planet that’s been found.
Both Gliese 581 d, and Gliese 581 g might support life.
So, maybe, there’s life outside of the Solar System.
There are more things in Heaven and Earth…

Actually we’re slightly premature in greeting Libra and Autumn now.
As of 2002, the sun is in Libra from October 31 to November 22. 
Seems every 2000 years or so, the constellations get moved up a month.
Just a few years ago we were singing about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
So, thanks to Aquarius, the signs are a little off schedule.
But we’re used to saying it’s time for Libra on September 23, so we still do that.
So it goes…

Back to the astrology... what do I really believe? 
As I get older I find myself open to believing things I had been told were wrong, or were not to be believed or respected, when I was a kid.
And I also find myself having second thoughts about things which I had been told I just had to believe.

I'm not impressed by dogma as much as I used to be.
Now I find some doctrines of faith to be at most just someone’s opinion.
If it is someone's philosophy or religion, no problem.
That's fine for him or her, but not necessarily for me.
So it goes…

About tonight’s new moon in Libra…
According to the folks at
In the social sign of Libra, be sure to invest your time and energy in any relationship you'd like to see grow and become more important in your life. 
If you're in a partnership, time spent together now will strengthen your bonds. 
Single? This new Moon provides a wonderful chance to meet someone new! 
The power of the new Moon remains until the moon is full in Aries on October 8.

When Pluto turned retrograde on April 14, circumstances and people required extra attention, and you may have needed to let go of a worn-out lifestyle. 
Hopefully, you've taken time over the last five months to re-orient yourself and reconsider some of your ideas. 
Now, as Pluto turns direct, you're ready to make progress, just don't move quickly.
Take time to assess your options so you can put a step-by-step plan in place.

There are more things in Heaven and Earth…