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Flat Apple Cake

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Tessa
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 1:18 PM
Subject: Flat Apple Cake

> Dear Uncle Phaedrus,
> My Bubbe (Jewish grandmother) was a terrible cook and baker but the one 
> thing she baked that all the grandchildren loved was a flat apple cake. Of 
> course, no one in our large family ever thought to write down the recipe. 
> She was from somewhere along the Polish-Austrian border, closer to Austria 
> I think because she didn't speak Polish at all. And I had a Austrian born 
> friend, sadly now gone who made an almost identical cake.
> The cake was very flat - about 2" to 2-1/2" high, baked in an 8"x8" pan (I 
> think). It was a layer of a cakey-dough on the bottom, then a thin layer 
> of what I remember was like a very thick applesauce and another layer of 
> the dough. It was pretty solid and cut like a bar cookie, as she would 
> serve them in squares. It had no dairy in it - no milk, and she probably 
> used vegetable shortening as opposed to butter or margarine. The liquid 
> might have been orange juice. Any help would be appreciated.
> Thanks
> Tessa

Hello Tessa,

Sorry, I cannot find a recipe called "flat apple cake" that fits your description. There are some Jewish apple cakes that have orange juice and no milk on my site here, but they are baked in a bundt pan. See:

Apple Cake


Dear Phaedrus,

in response to Tessa's request for "flat apple cake" posted on 10/05/11, I 
would first want to clarify that Austria and Poland do not share a border. 
There is a small country in between, called the Czech Republic. Secondly, 
I think that the cake she is referring to is Polish "Szarlotka". It is 
time consuming to make, but delicious, and the recipes- in English- are 
available online.
Kind regards,

Hello Tessa,

One of my readers suggests that this may be "Polish “szarlotka”. See:


Dear Uncle P

Thanks, but unfortunately it's not what I'm looking for. 
My grandmother's was two "cakey" layers with a thick apple 
paste in the middle. 
Close, but no cigar...
Again thanks


Hi Tessa,

Suggestion: There are lots of “Szarlotka” recipes. It might be productive for you to Google “szarlotka” and see if any of them sounds right to you.


Graham Cracker Cake with Chocolate Glaze

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jeffrey 
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 9:52 AM
Subject: Graham Cracker Cake with Chocolate Glaze


When I married in 1969, a friend gave us a cookbook with a Graham Cracker Cake with 
Chocolate Glaze recipe in it. It was a spectacular, meaty, moist cake with a semi-sweet 
glaze that topped it off just right. When we divorced in 1985, all the cookbooks 
stayed with my ex-wife, who is not willing to communicate with me to share the recipe.

I've googled and searched otherwise for this recipe for years and never found quite the 
right one. I've tried a number of graham cracker cakes, hoping they'd be equally good, 
but none has come close. 

I know this was a blender recipe, since it called for making your own graham cracker 
crumbs with one. Other specifics I recall include lining the baking pans (it's a layer cake) 
with waxed paper and melting what I think was baker's chocolate as a starting point 
for the glaze. The recipe called for glazing between layers and on the top.

I do remember that some recipe books we were given included McCalls, both red- and 
green-covered versions, and I think this recipe came from one of them--not certain, though. 

It would be a thrill to taste this wonderful cake again. 

Many thanks for any help you might be able to provide.



Hello Jeffrey,

Sorry, I had no success. I'll post the request on my site.



This is the recipe I have for Graham Cracker Cake. I hope it's 
the one Jeffrey was looking for on 10/5/2011. I don't remember 
where I got it, but it's yummy. 
Instead of the Mocha Cream filling my nieces like it better 
when I use Marshmallow Fluff as the filler.

Kindest Regards,

Graham Cracker Cake

25 double graham crackers, broken
1/2 cup shredded, dried unsweetened coconut 
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1.2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks (save the whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
4 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350. Butter (or spray) or cut parchment paper to 
line two 9-inch pans. (If you use parchment, butter that, too.)
In the food processor (fitted with steel blades), put the graham 
cracker crumbs and coconut. Process until very fine. 
Add baking powder and pulse 6 to 8 times to blend. Set aside.
Cut butter into 1-inch pieces and cream on medium to high speed 
until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking 6 to 8 minutes to blend 
in well. Yes, it seems very persnickety, but sometimes a good cake 
is a persnickety cake. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally.
Add egg yolks, 2 at a time, in 1-minute intervals. Scrape sides of 
bowl. Beat 1 extra minute. Blend in vanilla.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the crumb mixture alternating with 
the milk, 3 parts dry to 2 parts wet. Scrape sides of bowl and mix 
10 more seconds. Set batter aside in larger bowl.
If you don't have two sets of beaters, or a balloon whisk attachment 
(Kitchen Aid mixers have them and boy, they are great!) wash and 
thoroughly dry your beaters. 
Thoroughly. Any hint of foreign material and the next step won't 
work too well.
Put the egg whites in a separate bowl and beat them on medium speed 
until they are frothy (like the foam on a nice glass of Bass Ale). 
Add the cream of tartar and kick the mixer up to medium-high. 
Beat until your froth becomes firm, moist peaks, and stop. 
Do not overbeat. 
Fold 1/4 of the whites into batter, taking about 20 turns. Fold in 
the remaining whites, about 20 turns.
Spoon batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with the 
back of a tablespoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 or 30 minutes, 
or until cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan and is 
springy to the touch.
Let pans cool for 10 minutes, then invert pans onto cake racks 
sprayed with nonstick spray. Gently remove pans and peel off 
parchment paper (if you used it). 
Once cake is completely cool, it's time for the filling and 
the frosting. But while you're waiting …

You'll need a pastry bag, or improvise with a zip-lock bag with 
one corner tip sliced off. The pastry bag works better, though. 

Mocha Whipped Cream Filling

1 1/4 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1/2 teaspoon coffee zest (coffee zest is made with 3 parts 
instant coffee crystals to 1 part boiling water; 
 I didn't want to fool with that, so I just set aside a 
teaspoon of regular coffee from my morning brew)
1/6 cup confectioner's sugar 
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 
1 tablespoons Kahlua
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa, for garnish
Raspberries, for garnish, optional

Chill mixing bowl and whisk or beaters (I toss them into 
the freezer for 5 minutes). 
Pour cream into chilled bowl and whip for a minute or two. 
Stir in the confectioner's sugar and cocoa, then beat on 
medium speed until cream begins to thicken. 
Add the coffee zest and the Kahlua. Continue whipping 
until cream reaches the soft peak state, then remove 
from mixer. Whisk by hand until cream is thick,
but not grainy. Refrigerate.
Set first layer of cake on plate, top side down. Fit 
pastry bag with No. 5 plain tube and fill bag 1/3 full 
with mocha 
whipped cream. 
Starting 1/2 inch from edge of cake, pipe a circle of 
cream around the layer. Fill center with additional 
cream, smoothing surface with large metal spatula.
Carefully place second layer on top of frosted bottom 
layer. Empty the remaining cream into the pastry bag. 
Pipe 1/2-inch dots on the top layer, beginning at the 
outer edge. Each dot should touch the preceding one, 
forming a ring. Continue working toward the center of 
the cake until the entire surface is covered.

You can cut the cakes in 1/2 to make a 4-layer cake, 
if you do, double the mocha cream recipe

Now for the finish

Chocolate Sauce 

1 cup Whipping cream
2 tablespoons Sugar
4 ounces Bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Unsalted butter

Combine the cream and sugar in a small saucepan and 
heat to a boil. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate 
and butter in a medium bowl. 
Stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour over cake.

Korb's Bakery Hermits

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Penny" 
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 10:38 PM
Subject: Hermit Bars


We've looked high and low to find the recipe for Hermit Bars/Cookies from 
the Korbs Bakery  in Pawtucket RI that closed a few years ago.  Ingredients 
include, sugar, butter, molasses, raisins, sometimes nuts) and flour.

Please help, we now live in CA and have tried to recreate but to no avail.

Thank you.


Hi Penny,

Sorry, I had no success finding a recipe or copycat for hermits from Korb's Bakery. There are probably other hermits recipes if you want one of those, but I couldn't say whether they would be similar to Korb's.


I think I found something that is similar.

Hermit Bars (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace (or pinch of nutmet
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (use less if using salted butter)
1 cup raisins (plumped)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter and sugar 
using high speed of electric mixer. Beat for 3 minutes. 
Beat in eggs and molasses. In a separate bowl, stir together 
all dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. 
Stir in raisins and nuts.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Divide dough 
into 2 sections and form two logs of about 14×2 inches. 
Brush logs with beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for 
15 minutes. Slice each log at an angle about 2 inches thick. 
Makes about 16 bars.

Thanks for your help!


Pressure Cooker Chicken

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sandra" 
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:21 PM
Subject: Recipe Request


I am looking for a pressure cooker recipe - yes,I checked the links on your 
site with no luck-that I think was originally in the Presto Pressure Cooker 
recipe booklet. It had chicken breasts,BBQ sauce and potatoes and maybe a 
little white vinegar.

Thanks again!


Hi Sandra,

The Presto Pressure Cooker manual with recipes is here, and there is no recipe like that in it:
Presto Pressure Cooker Manual with Recipes

Same with the manual for the 8-quart cooker here:
Manual for 8-quart Presto Pressure Cooker with recipes

There is no recipe like that on the Presto website, either:
Presto Recipes

I tried searching by ingredients + cooking method, but had no success. Might have more success with the actual name of the dish.


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