Your guide to easy make-at-home treats mom will love. Fox News’s Lilian Huang Woo shares tips from David Leite of the award-winning site Leite’s Culinaria and a recipe from author Angela Garbacz, owner of Nebraska’s Goldenrod Pastries.

French Toast with Earl Grey Syrup; photo by Sara RemingtonLeite’s Culinaria
French Toast with Earl Grey Syrup
30 min·Yield: Serves 4
For this French toast, brioche slices are soaked in a combination of eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar, …
1 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
4 Earl Grey tea bags
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk

Adapted from Geoffrey Zakarian – My Perfect Pantry – Clarkson Potter, 2014

Make the French toast
Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C). Have a baking sheet or platter ready.
In a large bowl or baking dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt.
Submerge 4 slices bread in the egg mixture and let soak, turning to make sure the slices are evenly soated but not falling apart saturated, for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Working in batches, transfer 1 to 2 slices of French toast to the skillet after letting the excess egg mixture drip back into the bowl. Cook until golden on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the French toast to the baking sheet or platter and slide it in the oven to keep warm while you repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and ingredients.
Serve the French toast warm with additional butter, if desired, and a generous drizzle of warm Earl Grey syrup.

Perfectly Golden Chocolate Zucchini Cake
photos by Daniel Muller

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Excerpted from Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats. Copyright 2020 by Angela Garbacz, photos by Daniel Muller. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press.

My mom makes the best zucchini chocolate cake. It is so easy to keep taking thin slices from the pan with a butter knife. You just think that if you walk by the pan that’s sitting on the counter and take a morsel, no one will even notice. Eventually, after you walk by for the 14th time, someone is going to notice that a third of the pan disappeared in 20 minutes. I think my favorite part of this recipe is that about halfway through the baking time, she sprinkles chocolate chips and granulated sugar over the top. They both melt into the top of the cake, but don’t bake so long that they overbake and get burned or too crunchy.

This is the Goldenrod version of her recipe.

We worked up this recipe during the first summer the shop was open. I really wanted

to focus on using local ingredients and produce when I opened Goldenrod, but that was proving kind of hard to do with pastries unless I wanted to do more savory options. So, we started looking for ways to use what was already there, and to make some childhood favorites in our new, inclusive way of baking. This is a customer favorite that we are thrilled to bring back every summer.

We’ve tried baking this cake in just about every shape and size, and it’s great any way you bake it.


One 9-by-13-inch cake


Nonstick spray for pan

4 large eggs

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, plus more for dusting and 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

1 cup (179 g)

light brown sugar

1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil or melted coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

11/2 teaspoons

baking powder

3/4 cup (67 g) cocoa powder

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour or 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

3 cups (360 g)

grated zucchini

1/2 cup (77 g) bittersweet chocolate chips, dairy-free if necessary

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and dust it with granulated sugar.

Combine the eggs, both sugars, and oil in a large bowl and mix using a wooden spoon. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder and mix again to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. If your grated zucchini feels very heavy with moisture, I recommend squeezing out some of the liquid before adding the zucchini. You can do this by putting the grated zucchini in a clean tea towel and wringing it out over a bowl or sink. Add the zucchini and mix to combine.

Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, then sprinkle the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over the top of the cake and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges start to pull away from the side of the pan a little, the center of the cake just barely gives when you gently press it with your finger, and a cake tester or paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

This cake is great eaten warm, or at room temperature. You can store this at room temperature, covered, for about 5 days.

Angela Says

For the gluten-free flour, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (296 g).

Bake this in lined muffin tins for a rich and delicious breakfast treat.

Follow Lilian Woo on Twitter: @LilianNY