Cakes Recipes

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

I have never had rhubarb prior to this recipe.


I said it.

This strange red celery thing had intrigued me for a while, but I’d never worked up the guts enough to give it a try. But boy am I glad I finally did.

(My mom wasn’t sure if it was or wasn’t Revaas… but I have confirmed with Wikipedia that it is.)


I love the mixture of tart and sweet and, from what I gathered from research, rhubarb is highly tart. This coffee cake was fabulous.The cake is just sweet enough for the rhubarb but it’s the crumbs, ohhh the crumbs, that make it delectable. The crumbs, once baked, are big boulders of deliciousness and awesome. FACT.

Note: Coffee cake is the name given to any cake with crumbles on top and not necessarily coffee flavored. Just to clarify.

Alrighty, here we go:

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb Filling
3-4 stalks rhubarb (is it politically correct to call them “stalks”??)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 3/4 cups flour

1/3 cup buttermilk (1/3 cup milk with about 1 tsp vinegar- let it sit for about 5-10 mins)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into pieces.


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut up your rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.


2. Sprinkle on the sugar…




…and ground ginger. Mix it all together to coat all the rhubarb and set it to the side.


3. Next we’re gonna make the crumbs. Combine the sugars…


…cinnamon, ginger, and salt, and mix them all together to combine.


4. Pour in the melted butter.


5. And mix until the sugar mixture is smooth. It is imperative to mix the sugars with the butter BEFORE adding the flour in to ensure that your crumbs don’t come out all crumbly. Remember, we want big fat BOULDER crumbs, not wimpy dusty ones.


6. Once your sugar/butter mixture is smooth, then add in the flour and mix until all the flour is wet.


7. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a bowl. This’ll ensure maximum boulder-ness later on.


8. Add your egg and egg yolk and vanilla to your buttermilk. and mix. Set aside for just a bit.


9. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (oh man, I’m not gonna lie, I absolutely love using my stand mixer and thereby getting to use mixer lingo) drop in your dry cake ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Let the mixer start mixing to combine all the ingredients.


10. Pour in half your egg/buttermilk mixture and beat on a higher speed. Then, add in your butter and beat until combined. Pour the other half of the egg/buttermilk mixture once the butter is dispersed throughout. Take out about 1/2 cup of batter and set aside.


11. Scrape out the cake batter into the bottom of a 9″ cake pan (an 8″x8″ brownie pan would be fantastic… but alas, I do not own one of those). And yes, the cake batter will be thick. Don’t be alarmed. Layer on the rhubarb right on top of the cake batter.


12. Dollop on the 1/2 cup of reserve cake batter. It doesn’t have to cover all the rhubarb.

And boy! Did it get dark between the time I put the rhubarb and the time I added the rest of the cake batter!


13. Now, break the crumbs with a fork to separate from the bowl. Try to keep them big and wonderful so break them on top of the cake with your fingers.


Look how fantastic that looks. And into the oven it goes for about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit. Or don’t, I sure didn’t. Enjoy!

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Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake

Haaay internet! Did you miss me?? Quite understandable if you didn’t, I don’t think anyone but my mom reads these anymore so hi mom!!

We’ve been super busy with different things so this poor page has become quite neglected. I’ll try not to let that be a regular occurrence but I make no promises.

Confession: In the past, I have resorted to many many many boxed cake mixes. And you know, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that… other than the not being able to control what ingredients you’re ingesting and stuff. But lately, I’ve been trying to make a shift over to making my cakes from scratch and I must say, I didn’t know that this ratio business played such a critical role in pulling out a moist cake from the oven.

Oh, and another thing. I’m no fancy Nancy. I don’t have eight different kinds of flour and sugar in my pantry. I have 25 lbs of all purpose flour that I got from Sam’s and 10 lbs of granulated sugar that I also got from Sam’s. And some brown sugar because I like it…being brown and all. But I digress.

Many cake recipes call for an oh so useful cake flour to be used in their recipes. I was not aware, but cake flour is actually different from regular all purpose. Imagine that! Cake flour has a higher gluten content than all purpose, but you don’t have to shy away from the recipe just because it calls for CAKE FLOUR.


Here’s how you make the cake flour for this recipe:

We’re gonna be making 2 cups of cake flour, so all you need to do is put a sifter (or in my case, a fine mesh strainer) over a bowl, throw in the 2 cups of flour, TAKE OUT 4 tablespoons of the flour and REPLACE IT with 4 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Didja get all that? Here’s an equation if you didn’t:

2 cups all purpose flour
-4 tablespoons flour
+4 cornstarch
= awesome cake flour

It’s best if you sift it a few times, you’ll need the cornstarch evenly distributed.


Now for the rest of the recipe.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake

2 cups plus cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1 cup chocolate pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together all the dry ingredients.


Make sure you make a huge mess while doing that.


2. Add in the softened butter. Ok, I forgot to take out my butter so I microwaved it for 10 seconds… I think this counts since the cake came out just fine. But next time, I’ll remember to take out the butter.


3. Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until you get small crumbs.


4. Add in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and incorporate.


5. Mix until just combined.


6. Drop in your chocolate pieces and fold in until well distributed.


7. Pour into an 8″ cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Frost if you so please, or just sprinkle on some powdered sugar and you’re good to go!

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Chocolatey Chocolate Cake

The older of my two brothers’ birthday was this past weekend. He turned the big 1-5! And as birthday protocol requires, I made a cake for the occasion. However, the difference this year from the last was that we went to an outlet mall the week prior… meaning I had bought some super awesome cooking and baking supplies. My new 8″ cake pans are wonderful I might add.

My brother had only one request for his cake: “super chocolatey”. Done and done. We are a family of chocoholics (well, minus my dad sorta, sweets have a tendency of being too sweet for him from time to time. But I think he secretly likes super chocolatey things just as much as the rest of us!).

After perusing the internets for inspiration, I settled on a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Who could go wrong there? Then I discovered an unused Ghirardelli baking bar and slapped on a chocolate ganache to top it all off. Oh the intensity.

I have to say, though, even for us sweet-lovers, this cake and frosting combo is quite an indulgence. We each could only have a sliver with a glass of some sort of beverage right at hand!

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter frosting

For the cake:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, I used my trusty Hershey’s
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

2. Beat in the canola oil, sour cream and water until just combined.

3. Add in the vinegar and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

4. Beat the eggs and then add them to your mixture and mix well.

5. Butter and flour two 8″ cake pans and evenly distribute the batter between the two. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

(*Dad, you should stop reading now! You don’t want to know how I made the frosting and ganache!)

For peanut butter frosting:

8 oz room temperature cream cheese
3/4 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (the kind that doesn’t separate the butter from the oil, we had to make a separate run out to the store for this)

1. Beat together until combined.

2. The end.

For chocolate ganache:

6 oz semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Over medium heat, combine the chocolate and corn syrup in a saucepan until the chocolate has completely melted and mixed in well with the corn syrup.

2. Add in the heavy cream and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and use immediately. The ganache will set after about 10 minutes, so you should start drizzling it immediately so it has the nice drippy look when it sets.

To assemble cake:

Let both layers of the cake cool completely before putting your masterpiece together. Turn one of the layers onto your serving dish and lay on some of the peanut butter frosting. Place the other layer on top and frost the entire cake. Decorate with the ganache in a drippy manner by pouring the whole thing right on top and pushing out some of it over the edge.

Set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour and then enjoy with a tall glass of milk!

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Cherry Upside-Down Cake

Let me start by saying that there was a bit of a disaster associated with this cake. And yes, it was all my fault. I got a little carried away with the baking powder and things ended with the smoke detectors going off.

Final result with whipped cream

Regardless, the cake came out delicious.

This is what you’re going to need:

Cherry Upside-down Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups cherries
juice of half of a lemon
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or if you’re like me and only have all-purpose, use that plus 1 tsp baking powder)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
2 tbsp regular salted butter, melted
1 super mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla

Optional: One cup heavy whipping cream

PItted and Halved cherries

1. Start by pitting and halving the cherries. Don’t know how to pit a cherry because you don’t have a swanky cherry pitter? Have no fear! I don’t either! You can find a how-to for that here. Add the juice from half a lemon over the cherries and set aside. Then, preheat the oven to 350 degrees!

Dry ingredients

2. Next, combine the flour and sugar and mix well. Word of caution: if you’re like me and are using the all purpose flour/baking powder thing, don’t go all crazy with the baking powder. I did and my cake exploded into a mushroom over the pie dish and onto my stove element. Don’t make my mistakes!


3. Measure out your butter. And zap it till it’s melted in the microwave


Like so. 15-30 seconds should be plenty. You don’t need it all hot and bubbly.

Super mashed banana

4. Next, super mash a banana. My mother-in-law said she always used pureed fruits and vegetables as a replacement for butter in her recipes. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of butter. Use only 2 tablespoons and put in one mashed banana and you’ve got the same thing plus a super cool banana taste.

Spraying pie dish

5. Butter and flour your dish (I used my 9″ pie dish), or just give it a little Baker’s Joy.

Straining cherries.

6. Strain the cherries from their yummy juices and pour into the bottom of your dish.


Like this!

Cup of milk

7. Measure out a cup of milk.

All ingredients

8. And add in all the wet ingredients into the flour and sugar mixture! (Not pictured: vanilla!)


9. Mix until just combined. Make sure you stack all your plates and bowl on the side to prove you’ve used the contents of that dish.

Pour over cherries

10. Pour batter over cherries and place into the oven for 45 minutes.

Final Result

Ok. I had some issues with my cake. Since it overflowed inside the oven, the overflow batter became quite crusted onto the dish and the only way to get the cake out was to run a knife around the edge before I inverted it onto a dish.

Regardless of how you get your cake onto the plate, whip up a little whipped cream and serve it on the side. Just to be fancy.

And I am fancy.

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Welcome to Zahra Cooks!


First post! And how sad that it be just the recipe. However, I was super proud of this cake, the one my lovely husband named the AmeriCake, and my anything-too-sweet-averse father ate it without complaint. I musta done something right.

So here you go, internet, the first ZahraCooks recipe. The AmeriCake.

4th of July AmeriCake
adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 stick salted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Cream the sugar with the butter and add eggs. Mix well.
2. Fold in sour cream to the mixture and mix until well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt).
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until thick batter forms. Don’t worry! The cake batter will be more dense than the lovely batter than forms from the boxed cake mixes. Just scrape it all into the buttered and floured pan (I used my trusty 9″ by 13″) and even it out with a knife or spatula. I’m not fancy at all, I used a spoon.

Frosting and topping:
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar (more if you need more sugary-ness!)
One 1/2 pint package of blueberries
Two 1/2 pint packages of rasberries

*In all actuality, you could make and use any type of frosting/fruit combination.

1. Beat together cream cheese and butter with the vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.
2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. I was taking this cake over to my parent’s house that day so I opted for a less-sugary frosting. Feel free to add more than the 1 cup of sugar.
3. Start frosting and decorating!

Note: If you frost the cake with a thin layer of frosting before creating your stars and stripes masterpiece, you will have an easier time keeping the fruit in place. I learned this after most of my stubborn blueberries and raspberries rolled off the cake and brought me so close to tears.


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