Recipe Review: Apple Snacking Spice Cake


Joanne Chang, Flour, apple snacking spice cake

Joanne Chang, Flour, apple snacking spice cake

This is an easy-to-make cake from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook that is also one of the most popular items at Flour Bakery in Boston.  The cake is full of spices, pecans, and raisins, and the high percentage of diced apple makes the cake really moist and flavorful.  This cake got great reviews, with people coming back for seconds.  I made a few modifications: doubling the amount of cinnamon and cloves (because mine were a little bit old) and substituting about 1 tsp of fresh ginger for powdered ginger (because I didn’t have any on hand), and baking in a 9×9 square cake pan.

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Deliciousness: 4 of 5 stars

Cost: about $10

Time: 20 minutes active time, around 1.5 hours total

Healthy: no

Make again: yes

Link to recipe here.

Link to Flour cookbook here.

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Boston’s Best Bakeries


Recently I had the opportunity to revisit Boston and some of my favorite bakeries there.

Clear Flour Bakery is a great neighborhood bakery established in 1983 that makes great French bread and pastries and rustic fruit tarts.  My favorite is the morning bun, flaky with caramelized sugar and walnuts.  Their baguettes are outstanding as are their seasonal fruit tarts.

Mike’s Pastries in the North End serves classic Italian cannoli, cookies, pies, and cakes.  They serve many different types of cannoli, with ricotta-based fillings flavored with vanilla, chocolate, or almond, dipped in pistachios, chocolate chips, or oreos.  There are rum-soaked cakes and the dense ricotta pie.  It’s definitely a calorie bomb.

Flour Bakery and Cafe was established by Joanne Chang.  From the original location in the South End, Flour has expanded to other sites in Boston and Cambridge.  The breakfast sandwich was delicious with thick cut bacon and egg on a fresh roll.  I am a big fan of the Flour cookbook.

Finally, while on the East Coast I couldn’t help stopping by Dunkin’ Donuts!

Clear Flour Bakery – 178 Thorndike Ave, Brookine, MA, website here

Mike’s Pastries – 300 Hannover St, Boston, website here

Flour Bakery and Cafe – multiple locations, website here

Cookbook Review: Flour by Joanne Chang


Flour Bakery and Cafe is Chef Joanne Chang’s popular bakery in Boston, MA.  Last year she released an outstanding cookbook that has become a go-to for classic and updated pastries, cakes, cookies, breads, and desserts.  There are several recipes with excellent home-made icing, like the easy Oatmeal-Maple scones and Cranberry-Maple-Pecan breakfast cake.  Another standout was the buttery Brioche, the dough from which is also used in the Sticky, Sticky Buns.  Another winner and the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner was the Roasted Pear and Cranberry Crostata and Honey-Cinnamon Ice Cream.  A sophisticated dessert was the Lemon Sherbet and Prosecco Sorbet with Strawberries.  Cornmeal-Lime Cookies were a hit.  A stand mixer is necessary, as well as an ice cream maker for the ice creams and sorbets.  Almost everything has been a winning recipe, except for the Black Sesame Lace cookies that spread too fast, and the Milky Way Tart that did not set completely.  Highly recommended.

Link to cookbook here.

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