Posts tagged ‘cake’

May 15, 2012

Pear Ginger Cake (with Whipped Cream Frosting)

Birthdays are a reason for Celebrating.

My Grandmother recently celebrated a birthday and Rich and I decided to surprise her. She knew that my Wonderful Parents would be joining her but that My Love and I had “too many other things going on” to join her. There is a truth to that but little did she know that part of our busy weekend was us driving 2 hours to surprise her at dinner. My parents showed up earlier in the day, with this cake in tow, and then a few hours later when they went out to dinner… low & behold we were waiting there for them!

Celebrating her birthday was a great day and the shock on my Grandmother’s face was priceless!

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April 1, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

“The Way to a Man’s Heart is Through his Stomach”

The man that I love just happens to also love Cookie Dough. When I came across Something Shiny’s Cookie Dough Cake, I knew that I had no other choice but to make this for him. In the past I have surprised Rich with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes, also nice batches of Raw (with egg) Cookie Dough to make him smile, and even Cookie Dough Truffles for Holidays! This cake I knew would be a big hit – even if it meant many hours of preparation going into it (do not let the long list scare you off – it is worth every second you will spend working on it)!

Rich knew that he was getting some sort of baked goodie for Valentines Day this year, but I do not think that he expected this. We started this evening out with some wine and cheese and meats that I had picked up to hold him over until I could finish making the cake and then make dinner, and the evening of food was one that we totally enjoyed – especially with this cake ending the whole night. People may tell you that you need to spend lots of money to make people happy but I know that the best gifts come from the heart (and go to the stomach?).

Before reading any further please promise me that you will not worry about your diet for just a little bit – happiness is what you make it 🙂

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November 22, 2011

Apple Upside Down Breakfast Cake

I have wonderful parents. They are so willing to watch our dogs whenever we need them to. I try to do what I can to show them how much I appreciate it. Recently they kept our dogs overnight and I promised to bring breakfast in the morning when we picked up the mutts.

In my effort to try to eat healthier I knew that I did not want to bring over some breakfast-bake devoid of nutrients but covered in fat & calories. We also only had 1 egg so my normal Breakfast Egg Casserole type dish was out of the question. Then I stumbled across this healthy apple breakfast cake. This cake seemed like it had the potential to be really good. BUT – I didn’t bake it long enough plus it would have benefited from a bit more sugar and I think it tasted a bit too ‘healthy’ for us (sugar might have helped or use a less strong tasting whole wheat flour). So when you make this, be sure to bake it long enough and maybe add some more sugar.

Thanks Mom & Dad for still loving me even if I make a flop every once in a while.

Maple Apple Upside Down Breakfast Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups diced Apples, skin on
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or coconut oil
  • pinch of fine Sea Salt
  • pinch of ground Cinnamon (and nutmeg)
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 1/4 cup pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Flax Meal/Seed Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine Sea Salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia Powder (or more to sweeten to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg, whisked
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Cooking Spray

Apples: Heat oil in a medium non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add apples, water and a pinch of salt and cinnamon (and nutmeg). Stir occasionally and cook for about 8 minutes until apples are soft and fragrant. Remove from heat, stir in maple syrup and let apples cool.

Cake: Pre-heat oven to 350ËšF with the rack in the middle. Prepare a 8Ă—2 inch round pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. Gently combine the wet and dry together to form a thick cake batter.

Put apples in the pan first in a single layer. Make sure they coat the bottom of the pan well. Carefully smooth the cake batter over the maple apple mixture. Try to keep the apples from moving around too much. Bake for at least 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (mine appeared to be clean but was still very doughy on the inside, so I would suggest baking longer and err on the side of over-cooked if unsure). Let cake cool for a few minutes.

To remove from pan: put a large dinner plate over the cake pan. Hold it tight and flip the cake over. It should slide out easily. If it sticks carefully use a spatula to loosen up the sides.

And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what was the last thing that you made which you thought would be wonderful but ended up being a flop?

August 3, 2011

Chocolate Mocha Cake

My dad’s FAVORITE cake is Chocolate Mocha Cake (from Susan’s Catering) but I knew that I could at least attempt to make a cake to equal it, and that dad would appreciate a home-made cake over a store-bought cake any day, even if it did not turn out perfectly. For my dad’s retirement party (yay, so proud of you dad – the guy that taught me it’s ok to experiment in the kitchen and who loves to cook but does not enjoy reading & doesn’t even read my blog. But its ok – mom does, hi mom!) I knew that making this cake for him was the only option!

A few years ago my Aunt Pat gave me Death by Chocolate Cakes – and wow is there good stuff in there (great cookbook for all you chocolate addicts – get it, seriously), so I knew thats where I had to go to find this cake (which I had sticky-noted immediately after receiving the book). The recipes in the book are not quick or easy, but they are totally worth the time that they take!

This cake took me two days to make (although I could have made it one really long day) – so be prepared for a minor time investment, but trust me that the results are worth it. Dad actually retired a few months ago, but after devoting so much time to creating the cake, it took me a little bit to take the time to get ready to type this recipe in. My Aunt Sandy has not stopped talking about this cake since I made it and has been bragging about it & begging me to finally post it – so here we go, get ready for a lot of reading and once you read it: you might not be able to resist the urge to make it!

“Excessively Expressive Espresso Ecstasy”

recipe taken directly from Death by Chocolate Cake by Marcel Desaulniers!


  • 5 oz unsalted butter (cut into 1/2 ounce pieces plus 1 T melted)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 6 oz semisweet baking chocolate (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup instant expresso powder (or instant coffee)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 T pure vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350 and lightly coat four 9 inch nonstick cake pan with the melted butter & the place a round of parchment (or wax) paper & then lightly coat that with more melted butter

Combine (& sift) flour, baking powder, & salt. In another container melt the chocolates and the rest of the butter either in the microwave OR in a double boiler. (to melt in the microwave: use 1/2 power and microwave for just 30 seconds at a time).

Place the sugar, eggs & expresso powder in your electric mixer. Beat on medium heat for 2 minutes until thick. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix on medium to combine (about 30 seconds). Keep mixer on low while adding your (sifted) dry ingredients, about 30 seconds. Add the sour cream & vanilla for about 20 seconds. Remove from the mixer and finish combining with a spatula.

Immediately divide the batter into the prepared pans (about 1 1/2 cup into each) and spread evenly. Bake in the top/center of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 22 minutes (warning: mine was done at this point & was slightly dry – so check at 20 minutes). For more even baking: rotate 1/2-way through baking time. Let cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then invert the cakes to finish cooling. Peel paper from the bottom of the cakes. Place layers in the fridge to cool until ready to use.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 12 oz semisweet baking chocolate (chopped coarsely)
  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (chopped coarsely)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 T granulated sugar

Place your chocolates into a large bowl. Heat the heavy cream & sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil (continue stirring lightly to avoid burning). Pour boiling cream over chocolate and set aside for 5 minutes then stir with a whisk until smooth.

Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the ganache to a baking sheet with sides and spread evenly. Set aside the baking sheet and the bowl at room temperature to use when needed

Expresso Mousse

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant expresso powder (or instant coffee)
  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (chopped & melted: bowl at half power in the microwave, stopping to stir at 30 second intervals)

Put heavy cream, sugar, and expresso powder in the bowl of your electric mixer with a balloon whisk. Run on medium-high heat for 2 minutes until firm (but not still) peaks for. Take 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream and add it to the melted chocolate. Use rubber spatula to fold together until combined. Add the combined cream/chocolate with the remaining whipped cream and fold together until combined.

Assembling the cake

Remove the cake layers from the fridge. Use a cake spatula to spread about 1 1/2 cups of the mousse evenly/smoothly over the top  of 2 of the layers. Transfer the ganache from the baking sheet to the top of a 3rd cake layer and use cake spatula to spread evenly over top (refrigerate the rest of the mousse until the end of cake assembly process).

Place one of your Mousse Layers on your cake plate. Place the ganache layer on top of the first mousse layer. Top with the second mousse-coated layer. Place the final (plain) cake layer on top of the stack. Press down on the layers gently so you have an even, beautiful, cake! Refrigerate for an hour until the layers have firmed

Once cake has set take out the cake and spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. If you didn’t transfer the cake to a serving platter, you can do so at this point.

Now it is time to decorate! Use a mixture of expresso beans (food processed to make chunky beans) and sliced (crumbled by hand) almonds around the outside of the cake (just lightly pressing around the outside). Then fill a pastry bag with a large star tip  with mousse and pipe evenly spaced stars around the cake. Top the cake with a few chocolate-covered espresso beans. Place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. To get the best slices: heat the blade of your serrated slicer and heat/wipe clean between slices.

And I leave you with the question of the day… What have you spent hours doing for a loved one just because you knew they would love it?

June 29, 2011

Strawberry Cake

I went strawberry picking (twice) last week. I knew it was late in the season so I wanted to get as much out of it as possible.

basket of berriesOn Saturday we picked about 8 pounds: about 3 pounds went into refrigerator jam, I froze about a pound for smoothies (gone already) and I’m not really sure where the rest went – I guess we ate a lot! So just four days later on Wednesday I dragged Mom out to the fields and brought home about 5 more pounds. I had found this Buttermilk Strawberry Cake and knew that I wanted to make it so made sure to put some berries aside. Besides this cake, we ate (and drank in smoothies) a lot more berries again the rest of the week.

basket full of red berry goodnessI’m telling you – you just can’t beat the taste of fresh-picked berries. Strawberries from the store have a super strong yummy taste but the fresh berries are super sweet and have a more subtle and natural flavor! This year the strawberries in our area were very tiny because of the super wet spring. The smallness of the berries made it a little harder to pick and prepare: but did nothing, in my opinion, to the tastiness of the berries!

I decided to make this cake for my parents who were babysitting the pups while we were away with friends/family for the weekend. While I had all the ingredients out and the oven heated up, I decided to whip up another cake to bring to the beach with us to go along with the other breakfast goodies.

My dad said this cake was awesome warmed back up with some of the strawberry jam I had given them over top (and just for good measure – he put some vanilla ice cream between the layer of strawberry cake and strawberry jam).


dog damage

Dad was not the only one who enjoyed this cake.

I had the cake (and Snickerdoodle Muffins AND Banana Carrot Whole Wheat Muffins) all cooling on the table. Upon walking toward the kitchen I heard some “slurping” and walked in to see Donner (our Flat Coat Retriever) with his head tilted in a perfect angle to get his tongue to the side of the cake….

He immediately stopped when I screamed at him (and I guess we should be happy that at least all 4 legs were on the ground and he wasn’t hopping up on the table)! The cake which we brought south with us ended up arriving with a slab cut off the side in order to protect everyone from dog slobber (except for Rich who decided it is his dog and the cake was too good to let some slobber ruin it).

SO, this cake is: dog, father, boyfriend, & friend approved – enjoy!

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour (AP flour is fine, too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter berries evenly over top (I think next time it would work even better to just cut them in half if you have smaller berried like these and just push them in farther) and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.


And I leave you with this classic Beatles Quote: “Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields. Nothing is real and nothing to get hung-about. Strawberry Fields forever.”

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