Linda Lahey from East Baltimore was looking for the recipe for gooey butter cake that her father used to bring home every Sunday from the Marquad bakery when she was growing up. The bakery, on Belnord Avenue near Fayette Street, is long gone, but the memory of that delicious cake still makes her mouth water.
Michelle McManus from Pine Grove, Pa., said her husband, who is now 77 and grew up in Baltimore, also was very fond of this cake, and they searched for the recipe for some time. Her sister-in-law had the recipe for this Philadelphia-style German butter cake that they think is reminiscent of the one from the Marquad bakery.
McManus said she finds the cake turns out better if she rolls out the base layer rather than patting it into the pan. She also said that when she can't find the extra-fine sugar the recipe calls for, she just processes regular sugar in the blender or food processor until it becomes finer.
This recipe is a little time-consuming because the base layer is made with a yeast dough that needs time to rise before you can roll it out. It's very important not to overbake this cake. The cake should be golden brown but still wobbly when you take it out of the oven. And don't worry, the center is it meant to ooze when you cut into it — you haven't made a mistake. This rich yeast cake underneath the all the gooey buttery goodness and crunchy topping was quite wonderful and hopefully comes close to the one that Lahey remembers so fondly from her youth.
Amy Dickeman from Owings Mills is looking for a recipe for the garlic herb cheese that was served with breadsticks at Harvey's restaurant that used to be located in Green Spring Station on Falls Road. She said it was made of cream cheese and a little butter whipped together and flavored with garlic and dried herbs. She was so fond of it that she would often buy it by the pound at the Harvey's gourmet shop next to the restaurant. Since the restaurant and shop closed, she has tried to re-create it on her own, but it never tastes as good.
Fran Klees of Dowagiac, Mich., is looking for a Polish recipe for sausage and sauerkraut with vinegar and sugar that is made in a slow cooker.
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German butter cake
Makes 16 servings
1 (1/4 -ounce) packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter flavor shortening or 1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups flour, (plus some for kneading surface)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
10 tablespoons flour
2 cups super-fine sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
4-5 tablespoons milk
Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand in warm spot until bubbly, about 5 to 10 minutes. Mix sugar, shortening and salt in a bowl. Add egg, and beat together for 1 minute.
To egg-sugar mixture, add flour, then yeast mixture and vanilla, beating about 3 minutes (with dough hook or by hand).
Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead 1 minute.
Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel and let stand in a warm place to rise 1 hour or until double.
For the topping, cream butter in a mixer. Mix together flour and sugar; gradually beat into butter.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
Gradually add just enough milk to bring mixture to an easy spreading consistency, being careful not to make it too runny. Set aside until dough is ready for use.
When dough is doubled in size, punch it down and divide in two sections.
Roll or pat halves into bottom of two well-greased 8-inch square pans or one 13-by-9-inch pan. Crimp edges halfway up sides to hold topping. Prick dough with a fork to reduce bubbling.
Spread topping evenly over dough. Let stand 20 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes for the 13-by-9-inch pan or 20 minutes for the 8-inch pan or until top is just golden and crusty, but still gooey. Do not overbake. Let cool in pan before cutting.