May 19 marks World Baking Day, an event held on the third Sunday of May every year. What better way to celebrate than to bake something to share with your friends and family?

Here are a few staff favorites to get your ideas going! Let us know if you end up trying these recipes out.

Gladys’ Favorite Coconut Cake Recipe

Recipe from Rachel R Wyman

Coconut Cake
2 cups sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks melted unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
4 eggs

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 box (3 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 bag sweetened shredded coconut

Stir the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together in a large bowl. Add melted butter. Stir until it looks pebble-y. Whisk eggs & coconut milk. Add 1/3 of the liquid to the dry stuff. Stir until it’s pasty. Repeat with the 2 more times. This helps avoid lumps in the batter.
Divide batter between 2 greased & floured 8″ cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes at 350F. Remove cakes from oven and depan.
Make your frosting. I use a mixer with a paddle. Cream the butter. When it’s white & fluffy, add the powdered sugar. Finally add the coconut milk. Whip for 3-4 minutes.
Shave the dome off the layers with a long serrated knife. Spread frosting on the top of the bottom layer, sprinkle with coconut & smear some frosting on the bottom of the top layer before sandwiching together. Coat the rest of the cake with coconut.

Viviane’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (by her student, Min)

1. Mix butter (1 stick, softened) and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl, blend with mixer until smooth.
2. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract, mix thoroughly with an electric mixer at medium speed.
3. Add ¾ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt, slowly add 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp cocoa powder until thoroughly blended with a spatula, add 3/4 cup chocolate chips at last, mix well.
4. Line a baking sheet with baking paper, drop by spoonfuls ( a large spoon) onto the baking sheet.
5. Preheat the oven to 350F, bake for 18 minutes.

Tasneem’s Knafeh Recipe


  • Kataifi (shredded phyllo dough) 
  • Kunafa pastry coloring 
  • Butter or Ghee (whatever is preferred) 
  • Arabic Sweet Cheese 

Sugar Syrup

  • 1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Warning: This recipe is usually eyed aside from the syrup.

1) Start by preheating the oven to 375 fahrenheit 

2) Since both the sweet cheese and shredded phyllo come packaged whole, both have to be taken apart by hand. Set one bowl aside for the cheese, and another larger bowl for the shredded phyllo dough.

  • For the sweet cheese, it must be crumbled by hand as it comes apart easily. 
  • For the shredded phyllo dough, many use their hands to pull it apart into smaller lengths, but you can also use a knife or food processor to help.

3) Next, will be the butter mixture. Ghee is traditionally used in Knafeh mixture in the Levant, but butter works fine too. Either way, the butter must be completely melted, whether that’s by microwave or stove. If it is by stove, make sure to strain the brown bits. Add in the Kunafa pastry coloring and mix.

4) Add your butter mixture into the bowl of shredded phyllo dough. Use your hands to coat every little bit of shredded phyllo dough in the bowl. It is recommended to use gloves during this step, as the red-orange Kunafa pastry coloring will stain your hands.

5) In a baking pan, add in the shredded phyllo dough, just enough to cover the bottom, and press down. Sprinkle over the crumbled sweet cheese, but not enough to cover the pan. On top of the cheese, add another layer of shredded phyllo dough to cover the cheese and press down into the corners. 

6) Cover the pan with foil and place on the middle rack of your preheated oven.

7) While the Knafeh is baking, add in the cinnamon stick, sugar, and water into a saucepan over medium heat, stir, and bring to a boil. 

8) Bring the syrup to a low heat and add in the lemon juice and rose water. Continue to stir until the syrup is done, then shut off the heat. Move the saucepan off the heated stovetop, and let it cool.

9) When the Knafeh seems to form a sort of crunch and the cheese is melted, take the foil off the pan and pour some syrup over the Knafeh. Place the Knafeh back into the oven, uncovered, and leave it to bake for another 5-10 minutes.

10) Take the Knafeh out of the oven, let it cool for about 5 minutes, and depending on the pan that you use, you can either flip it onto another dish to make slicing it easier or slice it right in the pan.

You can also add more syrup after you take the Knafeh out of the oven (which I recommend), and/or decorate your Knafeh with chopped pistachios as many do!

Jane’s Favorite Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) Recipe

From Luisa Weiss’ Classic German Baking

Arianna’s Favorite Pumpkin-Pie Apple Muffins

This is a photo of a favorite baking recipe, taken from the “old school “ photo album style cookbook of the Pascual Family. Long-time residents of North Bergen and a familiar part of the community and its’ history, the Pascual family raised 4 children in town, and continue to this day to contribute to its growth and development. Mother, Marissa Pascual would collect recipes and bake for family and friends, often asked to replicate her delicious meals for special occasions. This recipe is a simple favorite, torn out of a Better Homes magazine, and saved in her magical book. (Dates of magazine are unknown, but could date back 30/40 years).

Madelynn’s Flan Recipe

1 cup sugar for caramel, watch it close and make sure it DOES NOT burn, put it in pan and continue to “swish” it around or use a wooden spoon.

6 large eggs, beat slow and with love
then add
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp vanilla
point of tsp for salt
mix well then add
12 fl oz carnation evaporated milk
14 oz magnolia sweetened condensed milk

Mix well, then pour atop caramel pan once caramel has hardened (use sieve to reduce air bubbles)
Put pan in water bath (bain-marie), must have HOT water.
Over the flan pan put a paper towel and then aluminum foil, making sure that the paper towel does not touch the water bath.

Bake at 350F for 1 hr & 5 mins

Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. 


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All branches of the North Bergen Library will be closed on Sunday, March 26th and Monday, March 27th. The Guttenberg Resource Center will close at 2 pm on Friday, May 24th.