Savarin Chantilly – French Bundt Cake with Apricot Glaze

by Jackie Alpers on October 15, 2014

french bundt cake on wedding buffet table

My niece got married in a field in Oskaloosa, Kansas last weekend. Afterwards we had lunch under a tent. My mother-in-law made all of the desserts including this Savarin, a rich airy cake soaked in a simple syrup and topped with apricot glaze and whipped cream. It’s traditionally served as a feast-day dessert in France. This is her recipe. It’s a little more complicated than the recipes I usually post, but I think it’s worth the effort. 

Savarin Chantilly – French Bundt Cake with Apricot Glaze
1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp yeast)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1/3 cup soft butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 egg
For Savarin Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup (or to taste) rum, kirsch or cognac
Bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Stir in rum, kirsch or cognac.
For Apricot Glaze
One 12-ounce jar (1/1/4 cups) apricot preserves. Heat in a saucepan at medium-low, then strain to remove solids.
For Crème Chantilly
To make homemade whipped cream, whip 2 cups heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla, or feel free to use pre-made whipped cream.


  1. Grease a 12-cup (10-inch) bundt pan.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside.
  3. Stir butter, sugar and salt into scalded milk until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm. Pour into a large bowl. Beat in 1/2 cup of the flour, egg and yeast with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add the remaining flour and beat vigorously for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Cover and let rise in warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 1/4 hours.
  5. Stir down batter and spoon into greased baking pan. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes longer.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until done and top is nicely browned. Cool 5 minutes and remove from mold onto serving plate.
  7. Prick top of Savarin in several places with a fork, and gradually drizzle with Savarin Syrup. Let cake soak up syrup before drizzling on more syrup. Continue until well soaked. This should take 30 minutes to one hour depending on how saturated you want your cake.
  8. Carefully pour warm apricot glaze over Savarin, spreading with a knife or pastry brush to coat completely.
  9. Allow Savarin to cool completely and serve with Whipped Crème Chantilly.


Cake decorated with sprinkles and full sized donuts

Does the thought of having to decorate a cake alarm you? Me too! Squeezing buttercream into and out of a a piping bag, is hard! Forget about me being able to form a flower, or writing someone’s name with that thing. Instead, I came up with some super easy ways to decorate cakes with regular old supermarket standards like these doughnuts. Personally I’d rather celebrate life’s everyday special occasions with  a cake covered in doughnuts instead of frosting flowers any day. You can see the rest of my ideas in my latest post for the Food Network.


JACKIE ALPERS PHOTOGRAPHY: Nacho bagel  sausage snack

This snack is best eaten very late at night, preferably after attending a party of some other festive gathering. It’s easily assembled and pleasant to look at, even when blurry.

Snack of the Day: Nacho Cheese, Slim Jims and Beer Nuts on a Bagel.
One bagel, any variety
1/4 cup nacho cheese sauce
1 Slim Jim or other thin sausage
1 tablespoon beer nuts
hot sauce, optional


  1. Slice and toast a bagel.
  2. Slather it with good quality nacho cheese sauce.
  3. Cut Slim Jims or other thin sausage sticks into small pieces. Arrange on top of cheese topped bagel in a pleasing pattern, and accent with Beer Nuts.
  4. Enjoy!

Slice and toast a bagel, Slather it with good quality nacho cheese sauce. Cut Slim Jims or other thin sausage sticks into small pieces. Arrange on top of cheese topped bagel in a pleasing pattern, and accent with Beer Nuts. Enjoy!


Mini Ice Rings filled with Sprinkles & Fruit

by Jackie Alpers on August 17, 2014

mini sprinkles Ice rings photo and recipe by Jackie Alpers

In my latest article for the Food Network I give step-by step instructions with photos on how to make individual ice rings to cool down and brighten up summer drinks. They are easy enough to make for everyday celebrations, or make them all different for parties so everyone can identify which drink is theirs.


Sonoran Style Chipotle Chicken Salad

by Jackie Alpers on July 15, 2014

chipotle-chicken-salad served in lettuce cups: recipe and photo by Jackie Alpers

Like all regional cuisines, Sonoran style Mexican food is evolving. My spicy Sonoran style chicken salad could easily be served in tortas (sandwiches) alongside the pork or beef varieties, or in tacos, which are now available served on lettuce leaves at local restaurants as well as on traditional corn or flour tortillas. I used store-bought rotisserie chicken which has become a staple in Mexican home cooking.

I’ve been trying to come up with a chicken salad recipe that I really like for a long time now. but it wasn’t until I shot a photograph for the Food Network Kitchens illustrating a recipe that showcased their basic steps for making chicken salad, that I figured it out. Their recipe called for something oniony, something crunchy (like celery, apple, radish, sweet pickle slices or a combo), mayo and salt and pepper. It was a really good basic guideline for me to start with This recipe is Paleo, low-carb and gluten free.   

Sonoran Style Chipotle Chicken Salad
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red or white onion
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonaise
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon Tyler Florence's sun dried chile rub, optional
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. Enjoy!

I served my chicken salad in  lettuce leaf tacos.  I used an “artesian” lettuce I found at the supermarket which appears to be a red tipped romaine:


I gave people slate slabs and let everyone build their own.




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Fair Food At It’s Easiest: Fudge Puppies Recipe

by Jackie Alpers on June 29, 2014

fudge puppies fair food Jackie Alpers

Covered in chocolate, whipped cream, and all your favorite toppings, Fudge Puppies are a carnival and state fair food classic. Here’s how to make them at home. I like to make them mini so they fit in cupcake wrappers for a pretty presentation at parties, picnics, and other get-togethers. This recipe is excerpted from my book Sprinkles!: Recipes and ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts. The photo is new! 

Mini Waffle Fudge Puppies
6 frozen mini Belgian waffles (regular sized waffles work too!)
8 to 16 ounces semisweet chocolate**
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles, nonpareils, dragees, or a mix
1/2 cup crushed peanuts, optional
Whipped cream for topping
**Almost any bar of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate will work well in this recipe. Err on the side of melting too much chocolate, because when you melt less chocolate at a time it’s more likely to burn and become unusable.


  1. Toast waffles
  2. Melt chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, stirring frequently.
  3. Line a work surface with parchment paper. Using a fork or tongs, dip each waffle in a smooth, even layer of chocolate. Dip it in sprinkles, peanuts, or other assorted toppings, and then place on parchment paper to cool and set.
  4. Transfer cooled Fudge Pups to cupcake wrappers. Top with whipped cream and more sprinkles and nuts, if desired.
  5. If you'd like to serve these treats on sticks instead, insert skewers into waffles after cutting them into squares in step one. Place them on a baking sheet, cover, and freeze for about 30 minutes to set. (This helps the waffles stay put on their sticks.) Remove them from the freezer when you’re ready to get to the dipping and sprinkling.

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Sprinkles Fairy Bread Sandwiches

by Jackie Alpers on June 22, 2014


Make any day a celebration! Just barely sweet, these sparkly sandwiches make a fun breakfast surprise, after-school snack, or party food.

Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “Fairy Bread” in A Child’s Garden of Verses, fairy bread is a popular treat at children’s parties in Australia, New Zealand, and other little pockets of the world.

This recipe is from my book Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts. The photograph is previously unpublished.

Sprinkles Fairy Bread Sandwich Recipe
8 slices bread
About 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,* at room temperature
About 1/2 cup nonpareils, jimmies, confetti, or sparkling sugar


  1. *Butter is typically used for Fairy Bread, but other spreads work just as well. Cream cheese, jam, Nutella, and many other spreads are suitable for catching sprinkles.
  2. Cut crusts off bread. Spread a thin layer of butter on one side of each slice. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in 4 of the buttered slices.
  3. Place the uncut slices, buttered side up, on a plate or over a bowl to catch excess sprinkles. Cover with sprinkles. Top with the cut-out slices, buttered side down.



You don’t need to have gone to art school to explore creativity in the kitchen. In my newest Food Network article I show how easy it is to paint watercolor flowers onto cookies using natural dyes and pigments as an option.


Easy Grilled Mini Pizzas With Edible Flowering Herbs

by Jackie Alpers on May 11, 2014

mini pizzas with orgeano flowers by Jackie Alpers One of  the best ways to learn how to cook is to follow other people’s recipes, and since I cook, style and then photograph chef’s recipes for the Food Network’s website, I’m constantly learning new things. My most recent project was photographing pizzas and I was really inspired by two of the recipes; a breakfast pizza from Giada De Laurentis, and a grilled fruit pizza from Bobby Flay.  Both dishes used Mascarpone cheese, which I’d never cooked with before, and Bobby Flay’s recipe explains how to grill pizza, which I’ve always wanted to try. I’ve got a huge patch of oregano flowering in my garden right now, and since the flowers are both edible and tasty, I decided to celebrate Spring with these grilled pizzas garnished with oregano flowers. Flowering thyme, or rosemary would also be pretty and work just as well. Keep an eye on your garden and then as soon as you see your herbs flowering make this pizza ASAP!

Grilled Pizzas With Mascarpone, Fresh Tomatoes, Pepperoni and Oregano Flowers
One 16 ounce package of pre-made whole wheat pizza dough, I use Trader Joe's.
1 cup of mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
6 ounces pepperoni slices
Two-three small, fresh tomatoes sliced thin, I use Campari tomatoes.
Fresh oregano leaves and flowers to taste.
Course sea salt, to taste. I used pink Himalayan.


  1. Heat the grill to medium and brush with olive oil
  2. Roll the dough into 1"-2" balls. Sprinkle a cutting board with corn meal, then roll out the dough as thin as possible. The corn meal will make it easier to roll out.
  3. Lay the dough on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  4. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the Mascarpone cheese. Spread a generous portion of the cheese mixture onto the grilled pizza. Top with slices of cold pepperoni and slices of fresh tomato. Garnish with a sprinkle of sea salt, the oregano leaves and the flowers. Enjoy! Makes 8-10 pizzas.
mini pizzas with orgeano flower by Jackie Alpers2


Sparkling Cranberry and Brie Crostini

by Jackie Alpers on May 8, 2014

sparkling-cranberry-&-cheese-crostini-800-jackie-alpersAn unpublished photo from my book, Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts was nominated for the 2014 Photography Master’s Cup in the Food Photography category.

Here’s the recipe to go along with the photo, reprinted from my Food Network Sprinkles Column:

Visually stunning sugared cranberries are a study in contrast. The tart, dark berries which appear to have been encrusted in tiny jewels, add a magical quality to whatever they adorn as they catch the light. The berries are tamed by an overnight soak in simple syrup, followed by a roll in a batch of sparkling sugar. Sugared cranberries go especially well with savory, soft cheeses. Press a few berries into slices of toasted baguette topped with softened brie for crostini.

Sparkling Cranberry and Brie Crostini
For the sugar bath:
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
For decorating:
1/2 cup sprinkles, such as colored sanding sugar, sparkling sugar and/or nonpareils
1/2 cup superfine sugar*
*Note: If you can't find superfine sugar in the market, pulse granulated sugar in the blender or food processor for a minute.
For crostini:
1 demi-baguette cut into diagonally into 1/2 inch slices, then grilled or toasted.
4 ounces brie
blackberries or other berries (optional)


  1. Stir the granulated sugar into the water and simmer over medium-low heat until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved and the liquid has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse the cranberries and place them in a shallow bowl. Pour the simple syrup over the cranberries, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day, drain the berries. Put the sprinkles and superfine sugar into a bowl deep enough to cover the berries. Gently roll the berries in the sugar/sprinkles mixture in small batches, remove with a fork and let dry on a baking sheet.
  4. Pile the berries and brie on top of baguette slices and garnish with additional sprinkles.