26 May2011

I MISS GOURMET MAGAZINE! It isn’t funny anymore. A year or more without them just isn’t the same. They were SO MUCH BETTER than Bon Appetit, that more populist publication with generally less appealing recipes and articles… Thank goodness for SAVEUR, which is really finding its stride lately, making up for some of the vacuum left by Gourmet’s departure. I can’t pinpoint the problem exactly, but if I had to make a sweeping generalization, it is that Gourmet Magazine was targeted at folks comfortable with either U.S. coast, the East or the West, and anyone who lived in between that probably felt equally at home on one of the coasts… Hardly anything in between, otherwise. Whereas Bon Appetit reaches out to a broader audience. I almost always found a couple of recipes in each issue of Gourmet that I wanted to try, and when I did, was often very happy with the results… but that isn’t the case with Bon Appetit… I was browsing through a March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit and spied a simple sounding espresso pound cake with cranberries and nuts. We have a veritable bounty of dried fruits and nuts that came in balikbayan boxes over the past two weeks, so I was on the lookout for potential uses.

I made them on a slow Saturday morning. They turned out looking terrific. Very photogenic.

But they didn’t look like the photos in the magazine, nor did they taste fantastic, in my opinion.

Even after a day where the coffee flavor seemed more intense, I’d say the cakes were just a 7.5 or 8.0 out of 10 maybe…

I did substitute walnuts for pecans but that shouldn’t have made the difference between a wow and a hohum…

…mind you, with a cup of tea or coffee and slumped down in front of the television, it wasn’t inedible. :) But if I had to take a wild guess, Bon Appetit’s photo wasn’t of a real cooked cake as one would have made at home. I suspect some food styling hocus pocus given their bizarrely perfect and even hued dissolved light brown glaze… Original recipe here if you still want to try it…



  1. Fards says:

    good morning, MM. They do look beautiful. The icing, what is that made of? I try to avoid icing if I can.

    May 26, 2011 | 7:41 am


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  3. kim says:

    yours actually look more appetizing than bon appetit :)

    May 26, 2011 | 8:03 am

  4. Ralph Guzman says:

    Hi! I sorely miss Gourmet too! My cooking life isn’t the same without it. And I agree that Bon Appetit doesn’t deliver like Gourmet. I’ve been hanging on to old issues of Gourmet like prized possessions, especially their anniversary issues. Have you tried the online Gourmet Live?

    By the way, I got to make callos using your tips and it turned out great. Thanks thanks!

    May 26, 2011 | 8:22 am

  5. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I second Kim. The crumbs of BA’s cake look drier than yours. ;-)

    May 26, 2011 | 8:30 am

  6. Angela says:

    How weird! I was thinking exactly the same thing this morning as I was going through my magazine collection (Gourmet, Saveur, and 6 months of Bon Appetit). I briefly considered writing the publisher of Gourmet to beg for the return of Gourmet. I tossed out all of my Bon Appetit magazines because, really, it’s NOT ‘bon appetit’!!

    May 26, 2011 | 8:46 am

  7. sophie says:

    MM, it looks so yummy makes me hungry now :)… and photos looks really real no enhancement as normally done for a magazine, lol!

    May 26, 2011 | 9:15 am

  8. kurzhaar says:

    Ditto on missing Gourmet. We can’t stand its “replacement” (as the publishers try to present Bon Appetit)…the two magazines targetted totally different readerships, which is reflected in the advertisements and articles and recipes, which often seem a decade behind what Gourmet would cover. If we had wanted to subscribe to a Bon Appetit-style magazine, we would’ve already been doing so. Rather meanly we lump Bon Appetit readers with those who subscribe to magazines like Good Housekeeping.

    Saveur is a great magazine but fills a somewhat different niche (though like Gourmet probably doesn’t appeal to the Bon Appetit fan). Fine Cooking and Gastronomica and Alimentum fill other niches. The newish AFAR magazine (travel) often carries good foodie-interest articles. But there hasn’t been anything quite to replace Gourmet and its very fine writers and editors.

    May 26, 2011 | 11:56 am

  9. Lex says:

    You are right,Ruth Reichl too good for middle America. Bon Appetit for the rest of the population it is:-(

    May 26, 2011 | 12:18 pm

  10. tammy says:

    I want some!

    May 26, 2011 | 1:47 pm

  11. joyce says:

    gourmet has a new italian cookbook out and old recipes can be found in their iphone app. i miss the great articles as well.

    May 26, 2011 | 2:07 pm

  12. obot says:

    i agree. yours look more appealing than that of Bon Appetit. Parang ang tigas ng loaf nila.

    May 26, 2011 | 5:57 pm

  13. Footloose says:

    Fortunately Gourmet magazine left in its wake a parcel of great cookbooks, mostly indexed compilations and or topical refocusing of their published recipes and articles that I can refer to without having to page through my tottering piles of individual issues, the survivors of countless purges where each time there had been a toss up between them and National Geographic on which to toss out, Gourmet seemed to have prevailed. Still there is a great difference in feel and feeling akin to the appeal contrast say between a static coffee table book on Muhammad Ali and an anticipatory weekly bakbakan serial.

    May 26, 2011 | 7:03 pm

  14. chrisb says:

    You must’ve used ground beans, MM, hence the speckled glaze. They used instant coffee powder.

    May 26, 2011 | 9:23 pm

  15. Joy says:

    The coffee cake looks wonderful.

    May 26, 2011 | 11:34 pm

  16. betty q. says:

    Maybe to make it more moist…have the dried cherries/cranberrries soaked in hot water to rehydrate and cooked or stewed over low heat and smooshed with a bit of Kirsch…then added to the cake battter just like when making sticky date or toffee pudding.,,,of course, no Kirsch and smooshed dates only in sticky toffee pudding.

    Thanks for the inspiration, once again, MM, and I am going to make sticky date pudding today as soon as I am done with physio…..only have dates at home and too lazy to go out and buy dried cherries!

    AHA! if you have leftover dried cherries, make something similar to FFTG.

    May 26, 2011 | 11:47 pm

  17. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    The product looks great. It must be incredibly hot in the Philippines around this time. For myself, I find it hard to enjoy pasteries and coffee when the temperature rises. The pictures of the coffee cakes with the nuts and cranberries got me thinking about the holidays and the winter. Maybe its a seasonal thing. You know, tastebuds gearing up for bbq and summer salads instead of comfort food. I bet you they probably would taste better on a cool winter morning.

    May 27, 2011 | 2:08 am

  18. marilou says:

    I agree. I am still mourning over Gourmet’s demise. Conde Nast got rid of the wrong magazine.

    May 27, 2011 | 10:28 am

  19. sister says:

    You might try tweaking the recipe by soaking the fruit in rum, Betty Q has a similar idea. Adding 2 tbsp. more butter to the cake recipe will give you more moist mouth feel. Add 1 tsp. each cinnamon and cardamon to the flour for some depth of flavour. Bake the cake at 300 F with a pan of water on the floor of the oven to prevent over browning the crust. Before frosting make a simple sirup with 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. brewed coffee and brush over the cake generously before frosting. After all, it’s only a pound cake with fruit or in other words the dreaded “fruitcake”.

    May 27, 2011 | 11:08 pm

  20. Gerry says:

    Have you tried Cook’s Illustrated? Their magazine and website do have recipes and reviews of different food products, tools, and appliances. Their videos explain step by step procedures on how to get successful results.

    Jun 5, 2011 | 7:29 pm


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