What’s a tart pan?

A tart is like a pie for lazy people. A tart only has one crust (bottom), while pies sometimes have two (bottom and top). A tart crust is much easier to make than a pie crust, and the fillings are also often easier to make. And, tarts generally look beautiful with minimal effort, given the ridged crust and fruit topping. But, despite the fact that it’s actually much easier, baking a tart seems to impress people more than baking a pie. Why? Because tarts seem vaguely French? Because homemade tarts are less common than homemade pies? I don’t know, but regardless I’m all aboard the tart train, and I suggest you hop on too.

What is it? A tart pan is a round metal pan with fluted edges. Tart pans come in a few different sizes, with 9.5-10″ seeming to be the most common. Unlike a pie pan, which has gently sloping sides, the sides of a tart pan are nearly vertical. Tart pans are much shallower than pie pans, so be careful to choose recipes designed for the right pan type. Tart pans also commonly have removable bottoms, making it easy to lift out the tart and present it.

What can it do?  A tart pan can make … tarts:

  • Fresh fruit tart (e.g. strawberry! blueberry! raspberry! blackberry!)
  • Chocolate tart
  • Lemon tart
  • QUICHE!!!

The first time I made a fruit tart I used this recipe from Paula Deen, complete with a glaze made from limeade concentrate. It was pretty darn good and incredibly easy.

What could I use instead?  A pie pan. If you’re using a pie pan, try to find recipes that are designed for a deeper dish. Otherwise, your tart will look kind of sad and small in the pie pan. Also, note that pie pans typically don’t have a removable bottom or fluted edges, so your end product won’t look quite as fancy.

Do I need it?  No. On a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is must-have, I rate the tart pan a 4 – it’s a fun extra. However, if you’re interested in upping your baking game, I highly recommend learning how to make tarts! It’s a great effort-to-results ratio. This one took me about 20 minutes active time to make: 

Raspberry tart, in the pan and out.

Raspberry tart, in the pan and out.

How much does it cost?  $. You can get a top-of-the-line tart pan for ~$20, and some good quality options are available for ~$15 on Amazon. A tart pan made out of non-stick steel will release the tart easily, no need for greasing beforehand.

How much space does it take up?  Not much at all!  You can toss it in with your other baking supplies.

What else should I know?  The removable bottom of the tart pan can actually be annoying when you’re NOT trying to remove the bottom. Try using a cookie sheet to carry around the tart pan before you’re ready to remove the bottom.

BONUS TOOL!: What’s a berry colander? It’s a small colander that’s just the right size for washing a pint of berries without crushing them. It’s easier to clean when you’re just looking to wash a few berries or tomatoes. Plus, it’s just so darn cute!!! We actually use this all the time since we are berry fiends. Definitely a fun nice-to-have.

berry colander

Readers, when was the last time you had a tart? 

What’s a pastry bag?

Earlier this year, my team at work had TWO reasons to celebrate. First, my colleague got into business school. Second, our boss got a big promotion. What better way to celebrate than with a congratulatory cake?!

I baked a simple round chocolate cake. While the cake was in the oven, I made some buttercream frosting. I decided that this would be the perfect occasion to break in my brand-new pastry bag. However, midway through writing the word “Congratulations” on the cake, I realized that I might run out of room. Mike came over to helpfully watch the disaster unfold. Here are the results:


That thing in the middle is supposed to be an exclamation mark, by the way.

After I finished writing, I realized – I could have just stopped at “Congrats.”  As it turns out, Mike had realized the same thing, in plenty of time to stop me from writing out the whole word. Negative 55 husband points were awarded.*

What is it? A pastry bag is a plastic or cloth bag that comes with several interchangeable plastic or metal nozzles. You fill it up with frosting, then squeeze! Depending on the nozzle used, frosting comes out in a thin line, a wide line, a rosette, and so on. Apparently even a basketweave frosting pattern is possible, although I’m having trouble imagining how that one works.

What can it do?  A pastry bag can pipe pastes in a decorative fashion. The most common use case is applying frosting to a cake or cupcake. I guess you could also use it to pipe pate or cheese spread onto crackers if you are obsessive compulsive about your canapes.

What could I use instead?  A plain ol’ plastic Ziploc bag can serve as a pastry bag in a pinch. Just fill a plastic bag with frosting, then cut a very small hole in the corner of the bag for piping. You can also use a plastic bag with metal/plastic frosting nozzles. This eliminates the need to clean your pastry bag after you’re done. Finally, you could forego the pastry bag altogether and find a different method for delivering written messages. I think there may be a few alternatives available.

Do I need it?  Absolutely not. I can’t even think of a hypothetical scenario in which you would need a pastry bag. Even if you were an international spy going undercover as an elite pastry chef, the pastry bag wouldn’t help you to deliver a secret message, because messages written in frosting tend to be pretty unsubtle. All the foreign operatives at the birthday party would see that the cake said “GUSTAVO = THE RAT”, and then you’d have to take your cyanide capsule, and the bakery would have to find a new pastry chef on short notice, and it would be a huge mess all around. Although you could probably make a pretty cute rat out of marzipan for the cake topper.

So, on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is must-have, I rate the pastry bag a 4 – it’s a fun extra. However, I will say that the expert use of a pastry bag REALLY transforms a cake into a special object. See the below example of my friend Monica’s amazing handiwork, for our engagement party (thank you Monica!!!):

Monica handiwork

How much does it cost?  $. You can get a high quality pastry bag set including reusable pastry bags and multiple nozzles for under $20. Or you can just buy the metal nozzles, and use them with disposable plastic bags. Even if you get really into pastry decorating, it seems like you can get all the nozzles you could ever want for under $60.

How much space does it take up?  Very little.

What else should I know?  Writing in frosting is actually pretty difficult. Next time, I plan to trace the writing with a toothpick before I start piping. I think it will say “Mike is a meanie-pants.”

*Mike currently has 1,003,402 points, so this was a relatively minor setback. (Awww.)

Readers, has your spouse ever looked on while you made a completely preventable blunder?  Then laughed at you?  Please share your tips on devising an appropriate revenge in the comments.

What’s a pizza stone?

These days, it’s trendy to do things in deliberately quaint or old-fashioned ways. For example, homemade pickles, craft beer, and artisanal lightbulbs. But you know what’s really old-fashioned? Cooking your food on a rock, like a caveman. Hipster blacksmiths just can’t compete.

What is it? A pizza stone is a stone that you can make pizza on. (It’s not rocket science, people.) It can be either round or square. Some people use ceramic or cast iron tools for baking pizza. That’s cool, but if it’s not made of actual rock then it’s a pizza pan.

The pizza stone is on the left, vs. the pizza pan on the right. The pizza stone will get stained over time but it's not a big deal. Just try to avoid spilling fatty food on it (like cheese) if you can.

The pizza stone is on the left, vs. the pizza pan on the right. Note that the pizza stone may get stained over time, but it’s not a big deal. Just try to avoid spilling fatty food on it (like cheese) if you can.

What can it do?  A pizza stone is great for baking bready doughs, because rocks rock. Try using the pizza stone for:

  • Homemade pizza
  • Homemade (“artisanal”) bread like baguettes or boules
  • Scones
  • Ballast

Note that the pizza stone isn’t good for baking fatty items like cookies because the fat can get absorbed into the stone, and cause odors.

First time using your pizza stone?  Try this easy pizza dough recipe.

What could I use instead?  You can use any flat oven-proof surface for baking bread, but the pizza stone helps mimic the effect of a brick oven, giving you a nice crispy crust – much better than you can achieve with an aluminum pan. However, if you’re just warming up a Boboli crust from the store, you can use a pizza pan (sometimes called a “pizza crisper”) instead, or a cookie sheet. (Note that a rimmed baking sheet typically isn’t wide enough to hold an entire pizza, which is why people buy specially-shaped pans.)

I’m actually more likely to use my pizza stone these days for baking loaves of bread than pizza. There’s something pretty satisfying about baking bread loaves from scratch, and it’s not as hard as you might think once you have the secret magic ingredient, a rock.

My first attempt at homemade bread. Piece of cake!  (er, bread.)

My first attempt at homemade bread. Piece of cake! (er, bread.)

Do I need it?  No. Even if you are in the 0.0001% of people who live outside of pizza delivery range, you don’t need a pizza stone. You could just make a somewhat lower quality pizza crust from scratch using a baking sheet. So on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is must-have, I rate the pizza stone a 4 – it’s a fun extra. I’ve actually had my pizza stone for many years (since well before I even met Mike), and it’s probably been used fewer than a dozen times. Now that I’ve started baking bread at home I suspect I’ll use it a lot more often. Plus, homemade pizza can be a lot healthier than takeout, and making pizza is a fun activity for the whole family. Just check out this guy:

He likes jalapenos.

He likes jalapenos.

How much does it cost?  $-$$$. Most stones cost around $40-50, but you can find them on Amazon for under $20, and brand names can cost over $100. Ours is a nice All-Clad set that comes with a metal tray and pizza wheel. If you’re really jonesing for a pizza stone but you’re low on dough (ha), go the DIY route and buy an unglazed quarry stone at your local home improvement store. There’s a chance it could contain lead, but a little lead never hurt anyone, right?

How much space does it take up?  A pizza stone is flat, but it’s really, really, really heavy. It’s just a big rock, after all, so yeah.

What else should I know?  Although making pizza (or bread) from scratch isn’t hard, it takes a little bit of forethought. You have to bake in (ha) 1-2 extra hours to let the dough rise as well as an hour of pre-heating the stone to get the best results.

If you sprinkle the pizza stone with cornmeal before you place the dough on it, the pizza will slide off the stone more easily. If you use too much cornmeal, and cornmeal spills all over your oven, don’t worry – that’s what the self-clean function is for! Your oven can heat itself up so hot that it burns all that pesky cornmeal away. It’s super convenient. I wish that I could use the incineration approach for all my other cleaning chores, too.

When you’re done with the pizza stone, consider leaving it in the oven to cool down. Apparently rapid temperature changes can cause the stone to crack. Some people even leave the pizza stone in their oven full time because it helps distribute heat evenly. Other people leave theirs in the oven for months at a time, and keep forgetting to take it out, because you only see it when you open the oven to put something in to bake, and by then it’s already too hot to take out, and then you forget about it again, until the next time you open your oven. Or so I’ve heard.

Readers, what else do you like to use rocks for? 

The Pie that Wasn’t

OK. I know what you’re thinking. “Paige, last time you said you baked FOUR PIES. What happened to pie #4?!”


Let’s all doff our caps and observe a moment of silence for poor old pie #4, banana cream. That sad little pie never had a chance.

Everything started out OK. I pre-baked the pie crust, prepared the pudding, and put that sucker into the refrigerator to chill.

And then – the banana pudding didn’t set. And I mean, it did not set at all. Pie #4 was a pie crust filled with vanilla milk and banana chunks. Not to exaggerate or anything, but it was a hideous deformed pie monster.

The Pie That Wasn’t

The Pie That Wasn’t

Although I tried to convince Mike that he would like to eat banana cream soup (now with 40% more banana chunks!), Numero Cuatro ended up going straight from the fridge to the compost. Pie Four, we hardly knew ye.

And you know what? I wasn’t even really upset by the failed pie (even though I had wasted some perfectly good lard on the crust). I knew it was a risk to try a brand new recipe, but I also wanted to be able to make a banana cream pie, and there’s no other way to learn.

So that’s lesson 2 – If you don’t ever try to do something new, and risk failing, you have no chance of ever getting good at it. I’ve tried out a lot of new recipes over the last 6 months, and most of them have turned out OK. But there have also been some disasters. There’s just no way around it. Learning to cook is just like learning to speak a language, play an instrument, or achieve ignition in inertial confinement fusion. You’re going to look like an idiot a lot of the time, because frankly you are one – for now. The good thing is, most people give up. You just have to be willing to look foolish for a little while longer than most people, and you’re golden.

Anyway, three out of four pies ain’t bad. (Besides, no one would have eaten the banana cream pie!!! Refer to lesson #1.)

And I’m confident I’ll figure out banana cream the next time. Pie #4, I will avenge you.

Readers – what was your most memorable cooking failure? Write about it in the comments. I promise not to laugh, while you’re in earshot.

Bake like Bon Jovi

In the short time since I started this project, I’ve already learned a ton about cooking (and life). Without further ado, lesson #1…

Lesson 1: Fix food that people like to eat. My office had a happy hour on Pi Day (March 14th, or 3/14). I decided to bake four pies, just for funsies.

So how’d they turn out? Pie #1, lemon meringue, was easily the best-executed. The lemon flavor was strong but not overwhelming, and the meringue was fluffy and golden. I had never made meringue or custard before, so I was really thrilled at how well the pie turned out. #1 was easily my favorite.

Pie #2, blueberry crumble, wasn’t perfect. I added white sugar when I was supposed to add brown sugar by accident. I tried to adjust the rest of the recipe to compensate, but the pie was still too sweet. It just didn’t taste quite ‘right’ to me.

What about pie #3, Derby pie (aka chocolate bourbon pecan)? Eh, it was OK. This was maybe my fifth time making Derby pie, which is my go-to. But even though this pie should have been a no-brainer, I kind of botched it. Maybe I didn’t care as much about getting this one right – maybe I took it for granted. I don’t think the chocolate chips were even fully melted in the final product. Shudder.

pie montage

Obligatory Pi Day pie montage

Anyway, that’s what *I* thought. But what did John and Jane Q. McPie-eaterson think??? I took the pies to the bar, set them out on a table, and watched as the results rolled in:

Pie #3 (Derby) disappeared right away. One of my coworkers ran to the bar from the office, shoving hapless consultants aside to get at the last slice. No joke.

Pie #2 (blueberry) was gone by the end of the party, although not nearly as fast. It earned at least one rave review and some visible finger-licking.

Finally, a full half of Pie #1 (lemon) was left over.

What? Why didn’t people eat the best pie? What’s wrong with them?!

It’s simple – people like chocolate. That’s it.

The moral of the story? If your goal is for people to eat and like your food, then fix the food that people like to eat. It sounds pretty obvious, but it’s easy to forget this, especially when you’re trying to learn new cooking techniques. It’s really tempting to pull out the recipe that’s the most challenging or impressive or exotic. But I’m here to tell you: “oldies but goodies” got that way for a reason.

It’s exactly like being in a band. Of course, you probably want to play deep tracks from Bon Iver, or your very own screamo creations. After all, you have good taste, and you’re excited to show the audience your new skillz. “They’ll never have heard anything like this before,” you’ll say to yourself. “I’m going to blow their minds.”

Wrong. The right answer is Living on a Prayer. Give the people what they want! Most people, most of the time, don’t like new things. Odds are they want to hear a song they have already heard a thousand times, so they can sing along. It doesn’t even matter if you’re good. A bad Living on a Prayer (aka chocolate pie) is much better than the best Panda Glo Explosion ballad (lemon). Trust me. The people will thank you, after they’re done jumping around and screaming and/or shoving pie in their faces, or potentially both.

Yes, I’m a sellout. But think about it. Selling out is a much faster way to make food/music that people like than actually, you know, having real skills. (Side note: in either case, having a drunk audience substantially increases the likelihood of positive reviews.)

So before you choose a recipe, think to yourself – What would Bon Jovi do? Then pick up your spatula and rock on.

Readers – I know what you’re thinking. WHAT ABOUT PIE #4?! You’ll have to stay tuned for the next thrilling episode of What’s a Bundt, titled “The Pie that Wasn’t.”

What’s a food scale?

It’s no secret that I love to bake. My blog is named after a specialized cake pan, after all. But even I was skeptical of the food scale, despite its reputation as a baker’s secret weapon. I registered for one just to see what all the hype was about. Now I am hooked. Measuring cup, you are dead to me.

The food scale, ready for action

The food scale, ready for action

What is it? A food scale is a scale that’s a) calibrated to accurately measure small variances in weight, and b) designed to look nice sitting on your kitchen counter. Simply put your bowl on the scale, press the “tare” button to return the weight to zero, and pour in the ingredient until you reach the target weight.

You may be wondering, why is the food scale so superior to measuring cups? Because measuring ingredients by weight is much more accurate than measuring by volume. Why? Because science. Seriously though, professional bakers measure by weight because it’s more reliable.

I also find measuring with a food scale to be much faster and less messy than the “dip and sweep” or “scoop and level” method. Whenever I “dip and sweep” flour, I end up spilling at least a little bit of the excess flour on the counter and floor. With the food scale I just pour the flour out of the bag into the mixing bowl until I reach the right weight. Cleanup is easier, too – I can make brownie batter with just one bowl and one spoon. Even Farhad Manjoo agrees.

What can it do?  Weigh food! The food scale truly shines when you’re baking, because it’s so important to get the ingredient ratios right. Try:

  • The whole spectrum of baked goods: cookies, brownies, (bundt) cake, pie, croissants, muffins, bread, and more
  • Measuring your portions (i.e. if you’re on a diet)
  • Weighing mail, in a pinch

First time using your food scale? Try an easy recipe like brownies

What could I use instead?  Plain ol’ measuring cups and spoons.

Do I need it?  On a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is must-have, I rate the food scale a 2. It’s darn useful. Darn, darn useful. Many excellent home cooks have never used one before.You could probably cook your whole life without missing it. But I would still pity you.

How much does it cost?  $. The most highly recommended food scale on Cook’s Illustrated is the OXO Food Scale, which costs ~$50 new, weighs up to 11 pounds, and supports both grams and ounces. Amazon sells a range of models around the $15 price point.

How much space does it take up?  Food scales don’t take up very much room at all. The OXO model is very thin and light, and you can stack it with other tools in a cupboard if necessary.

What else should I know?  Be warned: once you get used to cooking with a food scale, you’ll never want to go back. However, many American recipes give measurements in volume. Sad trombone! Don’t give up so easily though, you quitter. You have a few options. One, just look for cookbooks and recipes that give weight measurements. Two, learn or write down a few common conversions (e.g. 1 cup all-purpose flour = 4.5 ounces). Bonus: you get to do math!!!

Now go forth and buy a food scale.

Readers, do you use a food scale? This is your chance to … weigh in …

Recipe: Strawberry banana smoothie

Guest post from Mike!

So, you’ve got a hand blender, some fruit, and you’re hungry like the wolf – what next?!? How about blending up a quick & simple strawberry banana smoothie? I like to keep it simple with yogurt, orange juice, and fresh fruit – no ice cubes or crazy ingredients. Try out the strawberry banana smoothie, and then try your own fresh fruit combinations.

Strawberry banana smoothie
Time: 5 minutes, serves 1 large portion


  • 6 oz of your favorite yogurt
  • 4 oz orange juice (I like not from concentrate, but hey, it’s your funeral)
  • 1 banana
  • 5 oz strawberries (I use 1/3 of the typical grocery store package)


  1. Cut the tops off the strawberries, and cut them into halves or quarters (this makes blending easier). Peel the banana and break it into a couple pieces to help the blending.
  2. Put all your ingredients into a large cup or mixing tin (a pint glass is not big enough). Bonus points if you used an awesome beer stein.
  3. Immerse your hand blender into the liquid and blend! Work the blender up and down a bit to get everything blended. Don’t pull the blender out while the blade is spinning or you’ll splash yourself.
  4. Unplug the hand blender – safety first!
  5. Raise glass to lips and pour into mouth; enjoy vigorously.

Try your own fruit combinations – what is the deliciousest?



What’s a hand blender?

The hand blender (aka immersion blender or stick blender) does exactly what the name implies. It blends hands. So keep your fingers away from the sharp spinning blade, please.

Hand blender

What is it? The hand blender is a handheld wand with a small electric-powered spinning blade on the end. The spinning blade is housed inside a bell-shaped plastic or metal casing, which is designed to keep you from cutting off your fingers most of the time. It’s sometimes called an immersion blender because you “immerse” the blade into the food you want to blend.

The hand blender is not to be confused with a hand mixer. A hand mixer is the thing with detachable beaters that your Mom would let you lick batter off of when you were a kid. Pro tip: don’t let small children lick the business end of your hand blender.

What can it do?  An immersion blender comes in handy (…ha) when you want a smooth, creamy consistency, as in:

  • Sauce
  • Dressing
  • Soup
  • Smoothie
  • Baby food
  • Gravy (although who likes smooth gravy?! Chunky all the way, amirite?)

What could I use instead?  You can also use a blender or a food processor to pulverize your food to tiny bits.

Do I need it?  On a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is must-have, I rate the hand blender a 3. It’s nice-to-have. I think you should own either a regular blender or a food processor before you own a hand blender.

However, the hand blender certainly can make life easier, especially when dealing with hot liquids (like soup). You can avoid the mess of taking the hot liquid from the stovetop, pouring it into an appliance, and then pouring it out again. Instead, you just blend the soup right in the pot. A hand blender is also great for blending small quantities (e.g. an individual smoothie), because you can avoid the hassle of cleaning your regular blender.

How much does it cost?  $-$$. You can get a hand blender for as low as $11.19 on Amazon, and entry-level models from good brand names like Kitchen Aid are around $40-50. However, higher-end hand blenders can cost more than $300. I think they must be designed for those pesky blender-resistant cyborg thumbs.

Seriously though, if you buy a heavy-duty, professional-grade hand blender with more power, you can use it for tougher jobs. For example, you could blend hard ice cream for milkshakes, chop nuts, mince meat, crush ice, etc. It’s probably not worth getting a high-end hand blender unless you already own a hand blender and use it often.

How much space does it take up?  Not much. An immersion blender can fit in a shallow drawer with your spoons.

What else should I know?  Always unplug the hand blender before you start cleaning. In some models the blender end detaches, so you can wash the blade without electrocuting yourself. Bonus!

To avoid splattering yourself with hot liquids, turn off the hand blender and wait for the blade to stop spinning BEFORE you pull it out of the liquid.

Cordless versions are also available in case you need to smooth out some gravy on a camping trip.

Readers: when it comes to gravy, are you on team chunky or team smooth?

Recipe: Jambalaya

Jambalaya is one of the easiest Cajun/Creole dishes to recreate at home. (Whereas gumbo be cray … fish.) My version of jambalaya omits the shrimp, making it low-fuss enough for weeknight dinner. Authentic? No. Delicious? Yes. It’s also great for a Southern-themed dinner party. The last 30 minutes is hands-off, leaving you free to prep other dishes. You can also bring your Dutch oven right to the table for serving.

It’s also fun to say “jambalaya.” Jambalaya! See?

Mike’s corner: Fact 1: I lived in Louisiana as a kid for a couple years and have yearned for Cajun food ever since. Fact 2: I am generally not an ambitious cook. Facts 1 and 2 conspired to produce years of jambalaya from the box throughout my bachelorhood. At last, Paige, with special guest the Dutch Oven, have delivered me from Cajun inadequacy into the hallowed halls of deliciousness. Geaux get some for yourself.


Time: 45 minutes, Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2 6oz packages of andouille sausage, sliced (Johnsonville andouille is widely available, pre-cooked, and pretty darn good)
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic power
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco) to taste
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium diced tomatoes, undrained


  1. First, prep all the ingredients. Slice the sausages. Chop the vegetables. Combine the rice and spices in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium high. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and sausage. Saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice/spice mixture to the Dutch oven and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  5. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and serve.

Dutch oven tip: The handles of the Dutch oven are made of cast iron, so they will be hot. Don’t grab it without oven mitts or pot holders.

Recipe adapted from Food.com to be easier and lower-sodium.

Jambalaya ingredients

Jambalaya ingredients, many of which you probably have already

The other ingredients are already prepped and ready while you saute

The other ingredients are already prepped and ready while you saute

Ready to simmer. The Dutch oven's tight-fitting lid comes in handy here

Ready to simmer. The Dutch oven’s tight-fitting lid comes in handy here

Finished jambalaya, ready to eat! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Finished jambalaya, ready to eat! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Recipe: Kentucky butter cake

Are you ready for a secret? Butter is delicious. That’s why restaurant food is so tasty. Restaurants have no incentive to make their food healthy. I imagine that restaurant chefs are constantly elbow-deep in huge vats of butter, laughing maniacally. Steak? Add butter. Pasta sauce? Add butter. Vegetables? Butter, butter, butter, butter, butter, butter, butter.

That’s why I love this Kentucky butter cake recipe. It’s a butter-flavored cake. You’re not trying to fancy it up with almond, vanilla, chocolate, or lemon. You bake a cake that’s chock full of butter, and then you poke holes in the cake to infuse it with more butter. Sometimes* that’s all you really want – a face full of butter.

Even better – this cake could not be easier to make. There’s no fussy sequencing of ingredients, no sifting flour, no whipping egg whites and folding them in. Just dump all the ingredients in a bowl, in any order, mix for a couple minutes, and pour it into the pan.

And not just any pan. Your BUNDT PAN!

*actually pretty much all the time


The Kentucky butter cake. The bundt pan gives it a pretty shape so you don't have to fuss with decorations

The Kentucky butter cake. The bundt pan gives it a pretty shape so you don’t have to fuss with decorations

can you can see the butter sauce? mmm

can you can see the butter sauce? mmm

This cake was a big hit at my office. Given how easy it was to make, I will be coming back to this recipe again. Here’s the link again: Kentucky butter cake recipe