[A note on the above photo: that was taken by my friend & neighbor Rob Meyer who came over for cake and let me tinker with his SLR because I’m thinking of getting one. Has the time come? What kind should I get?]
The idea of a snack cake really appeals to me because, for most of my childhood, I’d come home from school and snack on cake. Only the cakes I’d snack on were the kind of cakes you find at a rest stop on the highway: Yoo-Hoos, Twinkies, Ring-Dings (my brother’s favorite) and Entenmann’s lemon coconut cake. My mom always kept plenty of these snacky cakes on hand and to this day, when it’s four in the afternoon and I’m feeling a bit sluggish, my favorite pick-me-up is a berry scone from Birdbath Bakery or, even better, a slice of some kind of cake that I made myself. This post is about one such cake.
The cake comes from Melissa Clark’s newest cookbook, “In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite.” If you don’t know who Melissa is, she writes a brilliant recipe column for The New York Times, a column that I frequently plunder and regurgitate here on the blog. For example, remember that fabulous Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli recipe from 2009? That was Melissa Clark’s.
Her new book is filled with similarly winning recipes. All of them have a wonderful balance of cozy comfort (braised chicken, lentil soup) and savvy sophistication (that’s not just any braised chicken, it’s got olives and preserved lemon; and that lentil soup has dried mint and tomato.) The result is a cookbook that, in a few months, will be covered in flour, olive oil stains and splashes of tomato sauce because you’ll be using it so much.
The first recipe I went for, naturally, was a snacky cake. Specifically, her Chocolate Chip Pecan Loaf cake which Melissa describes irresistibly: “Almost like a big, soft chocolate chip cookie in sliceable form.”
Um, yes please?
Here’s the recipe, which you should definitely make this weekend for you and, if you have them, your kids. As much as I enjoyed my childhood, this is way better than any Yoo-Hoo, Ring-Ding or Twinkie they might consume. No offense, mom.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Loaf Cake
from Melissa Clark’s “In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite”
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips [I chopped bittersweet chocolate into chunks]
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans [definitely toast them first, it makes a huge difference]
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan.
2. Using a whisk, whisk together the sugar and yogurt.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until completely combined.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture into the wet and mix until just combined.
4. Using a spatula, fold in the melted butter a little at a time.
Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan…
…and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature, right side up. Serves 8 to 10.