Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Up until five years ago, there was only one baby in my life, and she was cuddled and adored beyond imagination. I had hundreds of pictures of her in my phone, I would cry when I had to leave her home during my Italian trips, and I made sure she was raised a classy lady, exposed to the best Italian cheeses. Mr Bee and I nicknamed her "Most-Kissed Dog", and one night I even got on my knees and asked her to marry me. That baby is now 7 years old, and her name is Trixie: She's my crazy pitbull mix.

After the birth of my two boys, the level of attention that Trixie was used to plummeted in a way that I'm not proud of (I'm not going to bore you with details, but my sentiments are perfectly expressed by this spot-on apology by The Ugly Volvo). Nonetheless, Trixie will always have a huge and special place in my heart that I want to celebrate today.

Trixie is the most hyper and affectionate dog you'll ever encounter, a canine tornado of love whose only goal in life is to French kiss all of our guests. Once she calms down from her bursts of PDA (it might take hours with our dog-loving friends), she will curl up into a ball right next to you, wagging her tail every now and then to show you that her love is real. And given my food-centric view of the world, the first time I saw her curl up to sleep, the only thing I could think of is that she looked like the most amazing marble bundt cake.

The "donut" position gets tighter in winter.
I started researching recipes to replicate Trixie's beautiful, dark brindle coat as closely as possible, and that's when I found that I could get pretty close with a standard marble cake, including one that used used cocoa and apple butter. However, I wanted a more distinctive flavor, so I replaced the apple butter with pumpkin butter, and then reworked the amounts of butter, sugar, and yogurt so that the cake would be rich and sugary to my taste (universal tip: more butter, less sugar). I then doubled the amounts to make a bundt cake. 

After several attempts, I can say that my current Trixie Cake is perfect: a soft, fragrant cake that all of the talking men in my house have on permanent request for birthdays, holidays, Sundays... you get the idea. The pumpkin butter really comes through and pairs very nicely with the cocoa, and the yogurt makes it moist and soft as I like it. The visual effect is a perfect representation of Trixie's brindle coat, with reddish and dark brown layers rolling together into crumbly ribbons. It's such a pretty cake in her unassuming simplicity, and I almost feel bad cutting it: She looks so cute when she sleeps.


3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 C sugar
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
2 C plain yogurt (no-fat works fine)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
juice from half a lemon
1/3 C pumpkin butter (for a change of flavor, pear butter is the best alternative)
4 tsp powdered cocoa

Utensils: Bundt cake mold
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour the cake mold.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar.
  • Mix in the butter in small pieces, and then pour in 1C of yogurt until mixture comes together but is still very lumpy.
  • In another large bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, pumpkin butter, and the rest of the yogurt until well combined.
  • Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture in 2 or 3 batches, mixing until just combined.
  • Transfer half of the resulting batter in the bowl that is now empty, and then mix in the cocoa until well combined.
  • Pour the chocolate batter into the other batter, stirring with a spatula just a few times in order to create a marbling effect.
  • Pour the final batter into the cake mold, and place in the oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
Very important: Trixie Cake is best served with a dollop of whipped cream to reprise the white marking Trixie has on her chest—and the whipped cream might or might not be spiked with bourbon according to whom is going to eat it.

And here's another shot of Trixie, because you deserve it.

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