Decadent Chocolate Cake

Decadent Chocolate Cake anyone? How about with some ridiculously rich and creamy Chocolate Fudge Frosting?!

Yeah… THAT is what I thought!

First of all, I am constantly trying to master the moist chocolate cake. It seems so simple, and we all know it is delicious. But how do we do it? How do we create this Great White Buffalo of cakes? I am here to save you all from dry, yet sometimes tasty, chocolate cakes. I have found a combination of ingredients that finally, after years, has given me what I want…. and need! 😉

Topped with my Chocolate Fudge Frosting, this cake is to die for. I honestly meant to share it with my friend Jessica, and with the people I clean for…. but honestly…. I felt like that guy in the Hobbit who finds that ring…. (clearly not my realm). I was Bilbo and the cake was the Ring. Let it be known, I do like to share…. but every so often a gem is born in this old kitchen of mine, and I get all Queen of the Castle-ish. I can’t help it, blame my mother.

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So, here is what you will need…

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 C. + 2 Tbsp. Dark Cocoa, it is so important to use good quality cocoa for this recipe
  • 2 tsp. baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 C. Milk, I like using Whole Milk for this one
  • 1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 C. Boiling Water

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 1 1/3 C. Heavy Cream
  • 1 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 1 stick butter (4 oz) + 2 Tbsp
  • 6 oz. German Bakers chocolate, again good quality
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • a pinch or two of Salt

Here was my process…

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 9×13″ pan, or two 9″ round pans by greasing and dusting with flour.
  2. In the bowl of your stand up mixer combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low for about 30 seconds just until combined.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until batter is smooth.
  4. Once batter is smooth, reduce mixing speed to low and slowly, and might I add very carefully, pour boiling water into batter.
  5. Beat on high-speed for about a minute. The batter will be very thin, but be patient and let it do its magic!
  6. Pour cake batter into prepared baking pan(s).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the cream and sugar to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low to bring the mixture to a steady simmer for 6 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. In a separate bowl break the chocolate into pieces and add the butter, vanilla and salt.
  4. In a large bowl prepare an ice bath to place the medium bowl into.
  5. Pour cream mixture over chocolate mixture, let stand until butter and chocolate have melted, again stirring occasionally.
  6. Place chocolate mixture bowl into ice bath. ( Still in the bowl of course!!!!) Using a hand-held electric mixture beat the frosting until it becomes thick, glossy and smooth. This should take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  7. Use immediately.

This cake is a real mind blower… and I can’t encourage you enough to make this for any occasion…. literally, any occasion. That means PMS, Monday, a Doctors appointment, a birthday, Tuesday…. you name it. Talk about versatile.

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Happy Baking!

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Mom’s Carrot Cake

Hello all! The miserable humidity of summer has finally given way to the cold crisp air of Winter. I can finally bake without dying in my kitchen, and once again the holiday season is upon us… and I am inspired. Candy, cookies, bread and cakes! This is the best time of year, and the most fun in the kitchen. Tis the season for Butter.

For my comeback recipe I present you with my mothers Carrot Cake. It is simple, moist, delicious and elegant.This is the perfect fall or winter cake with so much flavor packed in it is hard to believe there are no secret ingredients. I do enjoy an element of surprise, but that might be best left in other areas of the house… 😉

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So, what you will need…

  • 2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1  1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Eggs, well beaten
  • 2 C. Carrots, peeled and finely grated

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 Stick Butter, softened
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 lb Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease cake pan and set aside.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Add Vegetable Oil, Eggs and Carrots*Make sure to beat the eggs very well and to peel and finely grate the carrots.
  4. Mix all ingredients until very well combined and pour into prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 – 35 minutes or until cake tested comes out clean.
  6.  Let cake cool completely before frosting.
  7. Combine all ingredients for the frosting in mixing bowl. For the best and the fluffiest frosting use and electric mixer!

This cake is delicious and addicting. It is great for every occasion and you can dress it up any way you could ever dream of. This cake is as moist as cake could get without falling apart… it is a cake fit for the angels.

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a cake. 😉

Happy Baking!

Lemon Summer Muffins

Hello bakers! Well, my world has been a little upside down, so I needed to take a minute and get used to things. Unfortunately, I am not a stress baker! I choose to read and cry and drink a little wine. I just can’t help it. But I am back with a brand new computer and some fun baking inspiration. I am loving muffins that can be cupcakes, and vice versa. I wanted a little bit of sweet in my muffin, but I also wanted a little less sweet in my cupcake. So, Cupins! I don’t really like that name and the other option was Muffcakes, and…. that just wasn’t working for me either… for obvious reasons!

As much as I love chocolate, it is just too hot for such a heavy treat. But fresh lemon is the very essence of summer. It is crisp, fresh, refreshing and genuinely tasty. Everything about a lemon makes me smile. The fact that you can put it in your water, or in your cookies or in your pasta sauce just makes me love it that much more. I made a simple lemon glaze to delicately drizzle over my muffins/ cupcakes, but they are great without.

So, what you will need…

  • 1 3/4 C. All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 C. Nonfat Milk
  • 3/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/2 C. Confectioners Sugar

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and line a muffin pan with muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 regular size muffins.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and add lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl whisk eggs until blended.
  4. Add sugar, butter, and 1/4 C. Lemon juice to the egg mixture.
  5. Slowly add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until just combined.
  7. Spoon the batter equally into prepared muffin tins.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.
  9. To make the glaze take the remaining lemon juice and the confectioners sugar and combine in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over each muffin. Let set, and enjoy!

This is a super delicious, and refreshing little treat. You can have it for breakfast with a cup of tea and some blueberry yogurt, or for dessert with a scoop of frozen yogurt. These also stand well on their own. Plus you don’t have to worry about feeling gross and full, just happy and satisfied.

Happy Baking!

Orange Honey Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yay!!! Summer is upon us and there is no end in sight. The endless possibilities of summer treats make me feel like I could bake forever! I have three pages of things I want to create and share with my loved ones. The fresh squeezed lemonade, strawberries and cream, fresh green salads… and watermelon! The flavors go on and on. For today I settled on Oranges and Honey. Yummy yummy!

I wanted a cookie that would be able to make a sort of “Dreamsicle” type Ice Cream Sandwich. SO, I made Orange Honey cookies and used some 1/2 fat vanilla bean ice cream for the filling. The ice cream complimented the cookies so well, you would think that the ice cream company had invented this cookie. Alas, it was I… just a simple baker.

 

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. + 2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/4 C. Honey
  • 1 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, yes, freshly squeezed!
  • 1 Egg

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine canola oil, honey, sugar, orange juice and egg. Beat with mixer of your choice until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Pour dry mixture into wet mixture and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. DO NOT over beat.
  5. Spoon dough onto prepared baking sheets allowing room to spread.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-11 minutes, until sides are a lovely honey brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before creating a Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich!

These cookies are surprisingly delicious and work very well in this situation! They are also good on their own, or with milk. Milk and honey after all, are very good friends.

Happy Baking!

 

Honey Cinnamon Doughnuts w/ Brown Sugar Glaze (low fat!!!)

I was trying to think of the perfect Father’s day treat, and I had a few ideas, but I wanted to do something special. So, I thought of the things my dad enjoys, and Honey was right at the top of that list. And who doesn’t like a doughnut?! So, I took the ‘love of Honey’ idea and turned it into a delicious baked treat.  This is a masculine doughnut with bold flavors, yet light in consistency and low in fat. Win win!

And just like with anything else that is sweet, a little bit of honey goes a long way!

So, you will need…

  • 1 c.  Whole Wheat Pastry Flour ( makes a more tender doughnut)
  • 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey

* I used the cinnamon sugar butter from the popover recipe to “grease” the doughnut pan.Just for a little extra pizzazz.

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease doughnut pan with cinnamon sugar butter.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk, and set aside.
  3. Combine eggs, buttermilk, Canola Oil and honey in another bowl. Whisk until mixture is foamy.
  4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and mix just until combined.
  5. Put dough into a pastry bag and pipe into each doughnut form until half full.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10  minutes.
  7. At 7 minutes, brush tops of doughnuts with cinnamon sugar butter.
  8. Remove from pan and let cool completely before glazing.
  9. While the doughnuts are cooling, you can whip up the glaze. I used 1/4 C. Brown Sugar, 1/4 C. Confectioners Sugar and added 1 tablespoon of Milk at a time until I got the consistency that I wanted.

These are a low fat doughnut so make sure to have at least two! They are light and not too sweet, and sooo easy to make.

Happy Baking!

Popovers w/ Cinnamon Sugar Butter

Finally! I love Popovers and I am always referencing them… so… ta da! Here they are. I stuck to my fail safe version, nothing fancy. The key to any Popover is making sure that the eggs and the milk are at room temperature. Helps keep them all light and fluffy, the way they are meant to be!

We were having grilled  BBQ chicken and a green apple, blackberry and spinach salad for dinner. I felt that the lack of carbs would leave a huge hole on my table. Normally I wouldn’t care, but it is just that kind of week ;).

I wanted to eat bread without feeling like I was really “eating bread”. How perfect are Popovers for that feeling?! They are literally hollow. So, I whipped up some cinnamon sugar butter and that was that. Honestly, the cinnamon sugar butter complimented the complex flavors of the BBQ chicken. Really, you ought to try it!

So, you will need…

  • 1 C. All purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 C. Whole Milk, room temperature

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and prepare popover pan or muffin pan. Lightly grease the sides and dust with flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  3. In another medium bowl whisk together, the eggs, butter and milk until well blended.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a wooden spoon just until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each tin half way full, and bake at 425 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
  6. At 30 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for another 15-20 minutes until tops are a rich golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven, pierce the side of each popover to allow the steam to escape.
  8. Serve as quickly as possible!

For the cinnamon sugar butter, just let butter reach room temperature and hen add a dash or two of cinnamon and a dash or two of sugar. mix until well blended. I usually take jam or honey with my popovers, but this felt like a fun thing to do. I love eating fun food!

So, next time it is time for a cook out at your house and you want to keep things “light”, take out that popover pan and give it a whirl. You just can’t go wrong!

Happy Baking!

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

I love coconut, but I am not a fan of chunks of it in my cookies! I love the tropical flavor and the how much fun it is to break one open. I also love Chocolate Chip cookies but you can only blog about the simple, yet delightful cookie so many times.

I was wandering through a little co-op type place in Randolph, Vermont when I found the solution to my cookie problem. Coconut Sugar?! As skeptical as I was, I bought it. I let it sit around for a week or so before I said, “What is the worst that can happen?” Fully knowing the answer I proceeded anyway. I mean, how terrible could it really be?

The cookies were amazing! The Coconut Sugar has the same effect as a brown sugar, and my cookies were buttery, crispy and chewy in the right places and an overall fantastic surprise.

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. Butter, softened
  • 1/2 C. Coconut Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 C. White Chocolate Chips, for the best flavor look for the white Chips that contain Cocoa Butter 😉
  • 1/2 C. Dark Chocolate Chips

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine butter, coconut sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Feel free to use your mixer.
  4. Add the egg white and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients in increments of your choosing until everything is well mixed.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on to prepared baking sheets allowing 2 or so inches between each cookie for expansion.
  8. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, at 350 degrees F for 10-13 minutes. Tops should be a rich golden brown, and somewhat firm to the touch.
  9. Let stand for around 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
  10. Enjoy!

This is just a slight variation in ingredients, but a rather large variation in taste. served warm with a little  Talenti ‘Sea Salt Caramel’ Gelato or maybe a nice glass of Cupcake ‘Angel Food’ wine, or a classic glass of cold milk… no matter what, you will not be disappointed.

Happy Baking!

Framboise Dream Meringues

First of all I want to say Sorry for my absence. Sometimes a gal must roam!

Who doesn’t love a delicious Prosecco? Framboise Beer is a fantastic  Raspberry Belgian Craft Beer, and lets face it ladies, if we are going to drink beer, it might as well be fancy beer. This is the Prosecco of Beer.

So, for my comeback recipe, I made a delicious Meringue cookie with Framboise and white chocolate. It is truly divine! It is light and airy, yet chewy as all meringue should be. They are sweet and delicate, just like me.

So, you will need…

  • 1/2 C. Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 3 Large Egg Whites, at room Temperature
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/3 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Framboise Beer
  • 1/2 C. White Chocolate Chips

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 250 Degrees F and line two baking sheet with Parchment Paper
  2. Sift the confectioners sugar onto a plate and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine egg whites, cream of tartar and Framboise. Beat on medium until soft peaks form.
  4. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners sugar, then fold in the white chips.
  6. Drop the dough on the prepared baking sheets, you can sprinkle the baking sheets with powdered sugar to make them stick less, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  7. Bake at 250 degrees F for 55 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool.

These are so much fun to eat, and you really do feel a twinge of sexy sophistication while eating them. Plus you won’t need more than one or two of this ladylike treat, which is good for the midsection. Put on your best night wear, throw on an old classic, pour a glass of Prosecco, and have yourself a treat.

After all, Life is but a Meringue…

Happy Baking!

Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)

Who doesn’t love a good Cream Puff?! For years I have wanted to make these but again, I thought it was going to be wicked hard. Turns out it is actually really easy. The Choux Pastry was the part that seemed daunting, but I found a few great recipes, and just made a dough using parts of the recipes I found. Trial and error! The first batch fell, but the second and third turned out beautifully. I found that the key to these beautiful puffs was milk! I prefer the texture and taste of the puffs much better than other recipes that don’t call for milk. They also didn’t brown as quickly. Success!

For the cream filling I made a Vanilla Bean whipped cream. It added the perfect amount of flavor to this light and airy delight.These are fun, and easy and you probably deserve to have them right now. I think these are the new bonbons! I would much rather sit around in my unmentionables eating these cream puffs than a box of bonbons. Bonbons are so 1994, in a bad way. Cream puffs are a lovely marriage of light and air pastry perfection and sexy whipped cream, with a dash of ladylike elegance that only the ground vanilla bean can offer. Cream puffs are the new sexy. 😉

So, you will need…

*Makes 30-35 puffs

  • 1/2 C. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour, always unbleached
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add flour all at once and stir quickly using a beautiful wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Return the pan to heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pan and forms a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to 140 degrees, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a smaller bowl whisk 1 egg, and add it to the cooled dough. (the dough will separate and get shiny after you add each egg, but keep stirring and it turns back into a nice smooth batter). Stir until blended.
  7. Add the remaining eggs, whisking them one at a time, and adding them one at a time. Stirring each until well incorporated.
  8. Let the dough cool for another 10 minutes or so before putting it in your piping (pastry) bag.
  9. Once cooled, fill your piping bag, and for each puff pipe out 1Tbsp of dough (some will call it paste), about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake puffs, one sheet at a time, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown in color.
  11. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately poke the sides with a toothpick to let the steam escape. Don’t worry, they will not collapse on you!
  12. Return the tray to the oven, turn the oven off ( leaving the door open) and allow the puffs to dry out for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely before filling!

For the whipped cream simply combine the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, vanilla and ground vanilla bean in a bowl and beat on medium-high with hand mixer, or stand up mixer until medium peaks form.

Once the puffs are cool, fill your pastry bag with the whipped cream, and gently insert the tip of the bag into the puff and pipe it full of cream. You will feel the puffs get full, and when you see the cream start to show, you know the puff is full!

These are super fun to make and they are also great for any occasion. A wedding, baby shower, birthday, dessert party, pajama party… literally anytime is a good time for a cream puff!

Happy Baking!

Oatmeal Drop Cookies w/ Ghirardelli Chips or Raisins

For the past two days I was attempting a juice cleanse, and it was pretty miserable. After 2 days I packed it in and really wanted to bake something delicious without being terribly unhealthy. My little reward for trying!  Alas, I turned to the ever faithful and tasty oatmeal cookie! (I like to drop them instead of flatten them to keep the oaty texture. I like the way they look and taste so much better.) I mean, I couldn’t go right for the Sinful Brownies after trying to be on a healthy cleanse… could I?

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So, what you will need…

  • 4 1/2 C. Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 C. of Butter
  • 1 1/3 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 5 Tbs Water
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla
  • 1 C. all-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1 C. Chocolate Chips or Raisins, or both!

Here was my process…

First I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and greased two cookie sheets.

Next I blended the butter and sugar until it was light and fluffy. I beat in the egg, water and vanilla until the mixture was smooth. In a separate bowl I mixed the Oats, flour (sifted), salt and baking soda. Then I slowly added the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, and mixed until all the ingredients were thoroughly combined.I took half of the dough and put semisweet Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa chocolate chips in it, and the other half I added raisins.

Then I dropped spoon fulls of dough onto greased cookie sheets and let back for 18-20 minutes.

These are really tasty cookies and you don’t really feel  guilty eating them. They are still a cookie, but they have a healthier attitude about them!

Happy Baking!