Autumn is upon us, with crunchy apples, crisp mornings, and colorful foliage. For me, it’s time to start baking cozy desserts—apples, pears, pumpkin, cinnamon—flavors that pair well with a warm blanket and a good book on a blustery night. Luckily, the Library helps me with my baking, thanks to a variety of cake pans, which can be borrowed from our Library of Things: https://www.mrcpl.org/read-explore/library-of-things/, and an abundance of cookbooks.
I recently spent a day baking autumn desserts with my friend Deb B. To keep it interesting, we chose recipes neither of us had made before. The results were tremendous, and I’m excited to share them with you!
We started with Not-for-Children Gingerbread Bundt Cake from “Vintage Cakes” (pp. 42-43) by Julie Richardson. What intrigued me about the recipe is that it calls for coffee and cocoa, in addition to the traditional molasses and ginger. The coffee and cocoa enhanced the molasses, rather than overpowering it, and the result was a strongly flavored, moist cake. The brown sugar glaze added just the right amount of sweet contrast. This cake makes a great presentation when you have company for dinner, and it can be enjoyed for breakfast. Here’s a link to the bundt pan, if you’d like to borrow it: https://encore.mrcpl.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1802013__Sbundt%20cake%20pan__P0%2C3__Orightresult__U__X1?lang=eng&suite=def.
Here’s the link to “Vintage Cakes”: https://encore.mrcpl.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1347206__Svintage%20cakes__Orightresult__U__X7?lang=eng&suite=def
Next up was Lemon Tart with Almond Crust from “Bakeshop Favorites” (p. 106) from Taste of Home. I know, I know, lemons aren’t something you think of when you think of autumn, but I was drawn to it because of the almond crust. In this case, the almonds complemented the tangy, sweet lemon filling by adding texture and a layer of flavor. As a bonus, the tart was simple to make. Here’s the link to the tart pan: https://encore.mrcpl.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1819790__Start%20pan__Orightresult__U__X6?lang=eng&suite=def
Here’s the link to “Bakeshop Favorites”: https://encore.mrcpl.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1380958__Sbakeshop%20favorites__Orightresult__X6?lang=eng&suite=def
The third, and final, dessert was baked pumpkin donuts. I sourced this recipe from Sally’s (McKenney) Baking Addiction website: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/baked-pumpkin-donuts/. The donuts had a nice cake texture and, thanks to the pumpkin, were super moist. The brown sugar icing gave the donuts a bakery-quality appearance, which matched the flavor. If you leave the icing off, the donuts will freeze well. Here’s a link to the donut pan: https://encore.mrcpl.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1817537__Sdonut%20pan__Orightresult__U__X6?lang=eng&suite=def
If you’re interested in more by Sally McKenney, the Library owns her cookie cookbook (And who doesn’t enjoy a good cookie?): Sally’s cookie addiction: irresistible cookies, cookie bars, shortbread, and more from the creator of Sally’s baking addiction
Baking allows me to exercise the creative side of my brain, and I find it most satisfying. The bonus is having a delicious treat to share with others. On this baking day, I learned something from my friend, Deb: Turn the bundt pan upside down while it’s cooling, and the cake will more easily release when it’s cool. I appreciate your time, tutelage, and friendship, Deb!
Now, I know your mouth is watering with all this deliciousness! What are you waiting for? Start baking!