Warm Apple Cider Cake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle from Vicki Wells


  1. 4 cups apple cider, preferably fresh
  2. 1/3 cup bourbon
  3. 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  4. 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  5. 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  8. 1 cup heavy cream


  1. 1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider
  6. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  7. 1/4 cup bourbon
  8. 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  9. 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  10. 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  11. 2 large eggs
  1. Vanilla Ice Cream, for serving
  1. In a saucepan, combine the cider, bourbon, brown sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and seeds; bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cream. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher; let cool slightly. Discard the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper; butter and flour the paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a glass measuring cup, mix the apple cider with the canola oil and bourbon. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla seeds and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the cider-bourbon mixture, until smooth.
  3. Spread two-thirds of the batter in the prepared cake pan. Drizzle half of the cider sauce over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top, then spread the batter over the cider sauce, being careful not to mix them together. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until springy when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the parchment paper.
  4. Rewarm the remaining cider sauce. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream, Pumpkin Seed Brittle and the cider sauce.

MAKE AHEAD The cake and cider sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. NOTES Cooking Club Tip: Choose vanilla beans that are plump, moist and fragrant, not dried out and brittle. Beans from Madagascar (thought by many to be the best) and Mexico have a rich vanilla taste. To scrape out the seeds, open up the bean and run the blunt edge of the knife from one end to the other. The contents of one whole bean is equal to one tablespoon pure vanilla extract. To store vanilla beans, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. SERVE WITH PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE



  1. 1/3 cup sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  3. 2 tablespoons water
  4. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  5. 1/8 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and butter the paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until a deep amber caramel forms, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and the dissolved baking soda and stir until combined, then quickly pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it into a thin layer with a spatula. Let cool until hardened. Break into shards and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The brittle can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week

Judith’s Pumpkin Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart (1l)

Adapted from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco & Mindy Fox

If using canned pumpkin, make sure to find one that’s 100% pumpkin. Often you’ll find cans of Pumpkin Pie Filling, which usually has spices and sweetener already added.
Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer before freezing, as directed. Pumpkin can be slightly grainy and straining the custard is a good idea to help smooth it out.
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whole milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (95 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup packed (60 g) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, rum or brandy
3/4 cup (180 g) canned pumpkin puree (100% pure), or homemade (see directions in post)

1. Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nest a smaller metal bowl (one that will hold at least 2 quarts, 2l) inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top.
2. In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and salt.
3. Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam.
4. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly.
5. Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 160º-170ºF (71º-76ºC).
6. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl nested in the ice bath. Mix in the brown sugar, then stir until cool, then chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
7. Whisk in the vanilla, liquor (if using), and pumpkin puree. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Variations: Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups (250 – 320 g) white or milk chocolate chips, crushed caramel, chopped up Skor or Daim (toffee) bars, or chopped toasted pecans or walnuts. A bit of chopped candied ginger would be nice, too.
Leftover bits of crumbled gingersnaps or gingerbread, or even toasted bits of brown bread or gingerbread could also be folded in, or crumbled on top for serving, which was suggested in the book.

Anita’s German Cheese Cake


300gr flour 00
150gr fine sugar
150gr butter
1 med egg

Rub the dry ingredients together like making crumble.
Add the egg and mix in till it all sticks together.
Rest for 1/2 hour


750 gr Quark a German type of ricotta ( can be found at Lidl )
5 eggs
200gr fine sugar
Zest of a lemon
50 gr sultanas soaked in 2 tbsp Rum
2 tbsp potato flour
1/2 packet baking powder

Beat the egg whites till stiff.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar till thick and creamy.
Add the Quark and beat in well, mix in the sultanas, potato flour and baking powder.
Then at last fold in the egg whites.

roll out the pastry thinly best is between cling foil line a 28cm spring form making sure the the lining comes 2/3ds of the way up at the sides.
Put the filling into the pastry case and bake for 50 minutes at 190° c

Judith’s Orange Cake with Orange Buttercream icing

Preheat oven to 175 C
Prepare two +- 20 to 23 cm layer cake pans by buttering the interiors and lining the bottom with baking paper. I had batter left over with 20 cm pans.
Cooking Time:25-35 minutes\ Servings: 16
Preparation Time: 15 (hahaha)

1 C./225 g butter
2 C./420 g Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 3/4 C./358 g Flour
3 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
1 3/4 Cup/ 415 ml Milk and orange juice 50:50
Cream butter together with sugar. Beat in eggs, orange rind and vanilla.
In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk/juice mixture. Pour into greased & papered pan.
Tap pans on table to release any air bubbles before placing in oven.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center and a toothpick emerges clean. Time depends on your oven.
Grease two cooling racks (very necessary) and after 10 minutes, loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto the rack. Cool completely.

Orange buttercream Icing
¾ c/169 g butter, softened
500 g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ cup/59 ml orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the butter until creamy and gradually beat in the sugar, then the salt. Beat in the orange juice and then beat hard until it is creamy, smooth and fluffy. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Ice the cake patiently, scooping on a glop at a timer, then spreading with a wet table knife. Stop and re-wet every time the icing starts to lift. You may want to cut a few very thin slices of orange and cure them in sugar for a few hours, but if you know a few days in advance, it would be even nicer to candy some orange peel for decoration. Just make it and dry it, then cut into threadlike strands for décor.
This is a cake so moist you could call it wet, so the surface is very tender. Handle only when cold and leave the paper on the bottom until assembling it. When icing it, really do spread only with a wet knife.
If your kitchen is cold you may have to do as I do and put the bowl in which you are working the butter into a bowl holding warm tap water until the butter starts to soften. Remove it quickly so it doesn’t melt, however.

Sarah’s Parkin Recipe


  • 110g soft butter
  • 110g soft dark brown sugar
  • 155g black treacle
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 225g medium oatmeal or blitzed up porridge oats
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger plus 50g chopped chrystalized ginger
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 100 ml milk
  • Pinch of salt
    1. Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/Gas Mark 1. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm square cake tin.
    2. In a pan, over a gentle heat, melt the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup. Don’t allow the mixture to get too hot or bubble. When they have melted together remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
    3. In a large mixing bowl sift in the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Gradually add the melted butter mixture and fold together. Pour in the beaten eggs and milk and combine together. Mixture will be quite runny but don’t worry.
    4. Pour into your baking tin. Bake for 1 hour, however keep an eye on it as parkin can easily become dry and over baked.
    5. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 20 minutes. Tip onto a cake rack and leave to cool completely.
    6. Store the parkin in a cake tin and wrapped in greaseproof paper. You must keep it in a tin for a minimum of 1 day and up to a week before you cut it. Leaving it to develop will give it a moist and sticky texture, as well as making the flavour richer and deeper.

      Adapted from a BBC Food recipe.


Amber’s Ginger Pear Compote with Bourbon Creme Anglaise over Crepes.

Compote (does not make a lot so double, triple, quadruple the recipe as needed)
2 Anjou Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 spritz of lemon juice
1-2 tsp sugar (I would go with as little as possible. Pears are sweet enough. )
1 splash bourbon
1 quarter inch slice of fresh ginger, grated or chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 sprinkle cinnamon
Melt butter in pan, add sugar until melted. Add pears and ginger, cinnamon and splash of bourbon and cook for about 5 minutes or to desired tenderness. Set aside.
Crème Anglaise
1 cup Milk
3 Egg yolks
1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Bourbon
Pinch of salt.
Beat eggs, sugar and salt until the color lightens. Set aside. Heat milk until scalding. Slowly add a tablespoon of milk to egg mixture, whisking the whole time. As you get further along you can stream milk in, but don’t stop whisking. Add Bourbon. Return mixture to heat and bring the heat up slowly over a low flame. Once the cream thickens, it’s done. Turn off heat, but keep mixing until it cools. 
Make crepes according to basic crepe recipe and compose dish!!!
It’s really much better than my photography skills make it look. AHAHAHAHAHHAHA

Mary’s Pear and Quince Tart with Star Anise


One pate brisee recipe, pre-baked in a tart pan

2 large Quince (mele di cotogne) peeled, cored and quartered

5 San Martin pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
2 Star anise
1 stick cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split with seeds removed
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
2 tbsp apricot jam

Place the quince in a large saucepan with the star anise, cinnamon, vanilla bean and seeds, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the quince soften enough for a fork to pierce easily but not enough that they fall apart. Remove quince from the poaching liquid. When cool, slice into 1/2 slices

Reduce the poaching liquid over medium heat until about 1 cup remains. It should be a deep ruby red. Remove the spices and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, spread the apricot jam on the tart shell in a very thin layer, just enough to seal the crust. Arrange the pear and quince in a pleasing alternating pattern in the center of the tart. Brush the fruit lightly with the reduced poaching liquid. Serve with remaining poaching liquid.

Sarah’s Pear & Ginger Upside-Down Pudding


Delicious pear, ginger and walnut upside-down pudding, a lovely moist pud and one of our customers favourites when we had our pub!

320g self-raising flour
200g soft brown sugar

2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
20g butter
50g chopped walnuts
3 pears
240 ml milk
100ml olive or sunflower oil
2 eggs
2 tbsp dark treacle

1. With the butter, grease the base (thickly) and sides of a 28cm springform round tin

2. Sprinkle 3 tbsp of the brown sugar over the butter and then half the chopped walnuts

3. Slice the pears very thinly and arrange in circles neatly on the bottom of the tin

4. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the rest of the sugar, spices and the remaining walnuts

5. In a separate jug whisk the milk, oil, eggs and treacle together

6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together

7. Pour mixture over the prepared base and bake in the centre of a Pre-heated oven at 175oC for approximately 40 minutes until golden brown and firm but springy to the touch

8. Turn out upside-down onto a large plate and serve warm with cream, ice cream or custard – yummy!

Dwight’s Pear ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce accompanied by gorgonzola/pecan mousse

Chocolate sauce: 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla
Place first four (dry) ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan, along with 1/2 cup of the milk and whisk to combine into a thick paste.
Add the remaining milk, bring the mixture to a boil, and whisk to combine well. When sauce boils, reduce heat to low and simmer very gently for 5 minutes, whisking often. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and cool.
Gorgonzola/Pecan mousse:
1/2 cup toasted pecans (toasted 5 min at 350)
1/3 pound soft Gorgonzola cheese, room temperature 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Finely chop the nuts in the work bowl of a small food processor. Crumble the cheese into the bowl and add the cream and salt and pepper to taste, and process until completely smooth, scraping sides when necessary. Serve at room temperature.
Pear ice cream:
2 1/4 pounds ripe Anjou or Comice pears, peeled, halved, cored, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 cup pear nectar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup light corn syrup
Combine pears, pear nectar and lemon juice in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Transfer to processor; puree until smooth. Chill until cold.
Whisk yolks and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk hot cream into yolk mixture. Return to same saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into mixture; add bean. Stir over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 7 minutes (do not boil). Pour through strainer into bowl. Mix in 1 cup cream. Cool 15 minutes.
Add corn syrup and 3 cups pear puree to custard and whisk until blended (reserve any remaining pear puree for another use). Chill custard until cold, at least 4 hour or overnight.
Transfer custard to ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to covered container and freeze. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)

Maureen’s Poached Pears & Ice Cream

Serves 6

6 peeled, cored and halved pears

1.½ cups of red wine
¾ cups granulated sugar
2 tblsp fresh lemon juice
2 tblsp lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Tub of ice cream or gelato

Except the pears and the ice cream, combine all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and carefully add the pears. Simmer for 10 – 12 minutes turning pears to coat on all sides and simmer an extra 10 minutes. Test the pears for tenderness by poking with a fork. Remove pears to a bowl and allow to cool. Turn up the heat and reduce the wine mixture by half to a syrupy content. Place two halves on each plate for service. Pour over wine syrup and add a scoop of ice cream or gelato.