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  1. “You are a Baker”

    December 31, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    I’ve dreamed of this moment all year – when I would sit down to write a long reflection on the year in which I baked 52 cakes.

    The magnitude of this journey didn’t really come into focus until this past August when I discovered another hobby I fell in love with. I took up running. I started out of necessity. By June I had packed on a whopping 10 lb. Baking a cake a week will do that to you. Weight gain was my biggest fear and challenge when taking on the task of baking with such frequency. It was hazardous to my health! Faithful readers may recall when I hurt my knee a few days before Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t running when I hurt it. I was baking! (more…)

  2. Week 52: New Year’s Funfetti Cake

    December 30, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    finished funfetti cakeThis is it, my friends – my last cake of this 2012 cake project. I would like to boast that not only have my cake-baking skills have improved, but so has my food photography. This last cake, I was faced with a real challenge, because after the cake had cooled for an hour or so, this is what it looked like: (more…)

  3. Week 51: Chocolate Butterscotch Bowl Cake

    December 30, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    finished bowl cake

    A few months ago I “baked” a Coffee Cake in a Mug. It’s a very practical recipe to have on hand. It’s easy, whips up in minutes, and really hits the spot when you need something sweet.

    I wanted to make something else in the same vein. It’s snowed three times this past week in the New York area. It’s gonna be a loooong winter. And a quick, easy cake recipe can come in handy when you’re stuck indoors due to bad weather. This bowl cake serves 1 generously or 2 with a more modest appetite. And you likely have the ingredients in the cupboard. (more…)

  4. Week 50: Currant Jam-Stuffed Coffee Cake

    December 30, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    jam stuffed finishedI prepared this little gem in a cooking class I took last week. Since the end of my cake project is looming, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’d like to do next in the kitchen. And – OH MY am I caked out! I’m hoping to spend more time cooking in the near future, learning to cook fish or pork or maybe a whole chicken – all things I’ve never cooked before! (more…)

  5. Week 49: Pull-Apart Coffee Cake

    December 30, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    finished pull apart coffee cake


    I have to go on the record as saying my hands did not touch this cake except to eat it. It was Christmas morning. I wasn’t feeling well. I had barely slept through the night and then I slept till almost 10am – something I haven’t done on Christmas morning since maybe I was a teenager. My mom made this cake. I supervised. And by supervised I mean I screamed, “WAIT! This is one of my weekly cakes, I have to photograph it!” while she finished the assembly.  (more…)

  6. Week 48: Bûche de Noël

    December 30, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    finished buche de noel

    THIS cake is the piece de resistance of this project. At least I was hoping it’d be. Two years ago I attempted to make a Bûche de Noël. It was a disaster. Crafting a successful Bûche was an obvious goal for this year. I used a recipe I found on the Food Network website, which is accompanied by video clips from the show it originally aired on. The videos are very helpful, but I still think Nick Malgieri makes the assembly look WAY easier than it actually is. (more…)

  7. Week 47: Red Wine Chocolate Cake

    December 27, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    finished red wine cake

    I was supposed to make a red wine chocolate cake a long, long time ago. I originally planned to make it for Valentine’s Day and I injured myself in the process. But I bravely returned to the recipe I hoped to use 10 months ago. Smitten Kitchen Deb’s red wine chocolate cake recipe is accompanied by a very sweet story about her lack of a 9/11 story, which is actually a lovely “story” if you ask me. (more…)

  8. Week 46: No-Bake Fruitcake

    December 27, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    finished fruit cake

    A few weeks ago I was reading 38 Clever Christmas Food Hacks That Will Make Your Life So Much Easier over at BuzzFeed. The post contains a lot of great ideas. I particularly liked #27: The five-ingredient no-bake fruitcake, which linked over to the recipe at Mr. Food. Many fruitcake recipes I looked at involved soaking candied fruits in liquor for days, months even! Others yielded large cakes containing lots of expensive ingredients. I couldn’t be bothered, but I did want to try some form of a fruitcake so a 5-ingriedent no-bake version seemed right up my ally. (more…)

  9. Week 45: Gingerbread Cake

    December 20, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro


    Calling this a “cake” is a bit misleading. It wasn’t a cakey cake. It was more like a bread, but not a savory bread. It had the faint sweetness you find in a muffin. Does that make sense? (more…)

  10. Week 44: Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

    December 18, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

    Some may call this a “dump cake” in that you dump the ingredients into the pan and bake it. However, as I explained in my Black Forest Earthquake Cake post, a “dump cake” sounds so unappetizing. Therefore, this is an earthquake cake. What’s underneath that crumbly topping is essentially pumpkin pie filling, making it a delicious treat to enjoy during the holidays. (more…)