my molli-batali cake

March 11th, 2008 · 16 Comments


i promised a cake and well, this would be the one. it’s a total hybrid, born of two disjointed thoughts. i’d been thinking about the orangette post featuring edna lewis’s ‘busy day’ cake. because i truly love and appreciate cake. it’s is one of my favorite things. and i like a really good plain cake with something interesting going on around it. and since it’s the tail end of winter, instead of the ‘creme fraiche with warm crushed berries’ option, i thought the underlying nutmegy flavor of this cake would go well with a spiced wine sauce of dried fruit, similar to what i’d had last month at ‘otto‘ in nyc, a batali joint.


so i baked up this simple cake and then proceeded to empty a half bottle of red wine into a small pan with some sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick and orange rind – along with dried cherries, black mission figs and raisins. i added salt and black pepper and reduced the liquid until it was a syrup. and then it was plated with the creme fraiche… perfect. i substituted 1% milk because it’s what i had in the house. don’t. get in the car and go. buy. whole. milk. i think it was a detriment to the end result. not dramatic, but a subtle ‘something’ that perhaps took the cake down a small notch. so thanks again to both molly at orangette and of course to my mario for the wonderful elements that inspired my mollie-batali cake.


it’s very much my kind of dessert…

Tags: dessert

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 amy @ minimally insvasive // Mar 12, 2008 at 3:13 am

    This looks entirely delicious, Claudia. I’ll get right on baking that cake this weekend!

  • 2 mari // Mar 12, 2008 at 4:08 am

    Oh Claudia, this looks de-lish! I so needed a busy-day cake recipe for this weekend, so thank you for reminding me about Molly’s post!

  • 3 Donald // Mar 12, 2008 at 4:33 am

    mmmmmmmm! Nice creation.

    Time to fret, huh? Cream, and wine, and sugar, oh my!

  • 4 The Italian Dish // Mar 12, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Claudia: My hat is off to you for trying to recreate a sauce you had at Otto! This sounds so interesting – I have to try it!

  • 5 lucy // Mar 12, 2008 at 8:52 am

    oh Claudia
    oh *sigh*
    oh yum

    i wish i had more reasons to make cake. whenever i make one, i always end up eating half of it myself and then not ever wanting to eat cake again.

  • 6 Bailey Barash // Mar 12, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Hello –
    I am a filmmaker in Atlanta. I read your latest blog with the mention of Edna Lewis and her ‘busy day’ cake.

    I just wanted to let you know I produced a 21 minute documentary about Miss Edna Lewis and its viewable in its entirety on Internet at a Gourmet Magazine website:

    and at a Georgia Public Broadcasting website:

    My documentary is called Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie.

    My website, has more information about the film and the story of Miss Lewis.

    Bailey Barash

  • 7 Jennifer Hess // Mar 12, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Now, you know I’m not big on sweets or dessert, but this looks just great. I love the texture of the cake, and the berries – mmmm.

  • 8 Mary Coleman // Mar 12, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Well, looky here at ms thang!
    Cake, red wine, figs…goodness.
    Too. damn. good!!!

  • 9 cookiecrumb // Mar 12, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Orange rind! Swoon. You made a simple confection quite dazzling. Nice photos, too.

  • 10 democommie // Mar 12, 2008 at 2:44 pm


    That looks simple and, yet, decadent, at the same time!

    I’ll have to send you my torte recipes (if I can find them!).

    Have you ever seen the recipe for the “Inside Out German Chocolate Cake”? I think it came from “Saveur”.

  • 11 Diana // Mar 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    wine, dried fruit, cinnamon, orange… thanks for showing me that dessert should always be a treat, or else it’s not even worth bothering with.

  • 12 john hutcheson // Mar 12, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Hey Claudia – It was great seeing you tonight at City House. You not only have the most mouth-watering blog I’ve ever read, but your pictures are all incredible.

    I cracked up at your word-war with K. West over at Bites. Thanks for the word up to check out the comments. Such a delicate flower you are. LOL.

    Always a pleasure to see/read you.


  • 13 michelle @ TNS // Mar 13, 2008 at 8:26 am

    that? is a damn good looking cake. that you should put in a box, and send to me.

    but why, why, would you use 1% milk? is a dessert, no less!

  • 14 claudia // Mar 13, 2008 at 11:29 am

    michelle – it’s all i had in the house… i learned my lesson. maybe.

    john – back atcha. as for kay? i wish her well and hope she gets laid very soon.

    diana – well, i try. and rarely make anything unless it’s from scratcharooni and that makes all the diff in the world if you choose good ingredients.

    demo – sounds great that german chocolate cake thing…

    cookie – i used the orange for YOU. how could i have left it out…

    mary – it was pretty damn good – i tell ya…

    jennifer – you mighta gone for this one! i know you can be persuaded.

    bailey – thank you!

    lucy – but then you wait a week or so and – CAKE!

    italian dish – i think i got close. i’d love to know exactly what they do though…

    donald – i am freaked out about this right now…

    mari and amy – report back! please!

  • 15 Simplicity in a Pound Cake « Caviar and Codfish // Mar 13, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    […] popping up around the blog-(and magazine)o-sphere recently. Molly made a Busy-Day cake. Claudia jazzed it up a bit. I was already drooling over the prospect of a simple, buttery, plain cake when […]

  • 16 Molly // Mar 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Claudia, I love where you’ve gone with this cake! It sounds unbelievably good. I love the thought of those winey cherries and figs – and the orange rind too. Gorgeous!

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