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Baking Memories

Make These Family Favorites A Holiday Tradition

Baking makes the holidays sweeter, and there is nothing more special than heirloom recipes handed down through the generations. For years, I have made a chocolate bourbon cake at Christmastime in hopes it becomes a family tradition like my mother-in-law’s angel food cake recipe, passed down through three generations. True to its name, Nani’s cake is indeed angelic and a favorite among the grandkids. She would be thrilled that I am sharing it with our readers. Enjoy, and be sure to bake some memories with your loved ones this holiday! 

Nani’s Angel Food Cake


1 ½ cup egg whites

1 1/8 cups sifted cake flour

3/4 cup sugar + 1 cup sugar 

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Whipped cream



Set egg whites out for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

Sift cake flour five times.

Add 3/4 cup sugar to sifted flour and sift five more times.

Pour egg whites into large bowl. Add salt and beat on high until foamy (about ½ minute).

Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until egg whites stand with peaks (2-3 minutes).

Rapidly sprinkle in 1 cup sugar and beat only until blended with mixer on 8 speed (about 1 minute).

Scrape bowl and put mixer on 2 speed. Add vanilla and almond extracts.

Sprinkle in flour mixture and manually fold in quickly and carefully with spatula.

Pour gently into tube pan and cut through for air bubbles.

Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool completely in inverted pan.

Optional: Ice with whipped cream and top with berries.

Stephanie’s Favorite Chocolate Bourbon Cake


1 cup strong, hot coffee

½ cup bourbon

5 ounces quality unsweetened dark chocolate

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tablespoon to dust the pan

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder.

Heat chocolate in microwave for 1 minute and stir. Continue to heat in 30-second increments until melted and smooth. Let cool.

Add bourbon and 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder to hot coffee. Stir and set aside.

In mixer, beat the butter and sugar until well combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each one well before adding the next.

Mix in the vanilla, baking soda and melted chocolate and salt.

Set mixer on low and add the coffee-bourbon mixture and flower alternately about a third of each mixture at a time.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes – or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool and drizzle with chocolate ganache glaze.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze


1 1/2 cup quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy whipping cream


Add chocolate chips to a medium bowl and set aside.

Bring heavy whipping cream to a simmer on the stove, stirring occasionally. Do not bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. Place lid or towel over the bowl and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, slowly stir the mixture until smooth. Drizzle over cake.