Tag Archives: baking

Cake Wars Reminds Me That I Need A Multi-Vitamin

20 Feb

The age of parenthood caught up with me as I fell asleep at nine o’clock on Friday AND Saturday night.

My nights of partying it up after the work week are a 20-something memory. I’m all about the Netflix now. But I couldn’t even stay up to watch Peaky Blinders. Peaky Blinders!!! My new obsession next to The Walking Dead. I couldn’t even manage to open up the computer and type out an idea. I wrote part of it on a piece of paper, but couldn’t remember what I had written the next morning. The times of writing into the wee hours of the moonlight, during the week ceased to exist, unless I had a shot of 5-Hour energy. Or a nap. Something I haven’t seen since pregnancy.

I think I need to start taking a multi-vitamin.

All my energies got swept up this week and then I was hit with the yearly Scouting Luau Extravaganza that required my kid’s troop to be in charge of games. We were also encouraged to participate in the cake baking and decorating contest.

So, we took out the flour and sugar, and since we wanted it to taste better than the rest we also took out Trisha Yearwood cake recipe. It was on. Cake Wars. Nick Jr. Edition.

 

All of them were actually pretty great, but these were some of the ones that caught my eye. Including my kid’s Lego version of an island with a shark swimming in shredded coconut waves. His sense of humor cracks me up.

But I can’t lie to you the whole baking process was a little stressful as we decided to do the baking and decorating on the same day, instead of being smart and splitting it up into two days. Baking usually calms me down, but there was nothing relaxing about this process, especially when we were on deadline and cups of flour were spilled, you barely had enough milk, eggs were poured in at the wrong time … you know when the mixer was on high and half of the yolky batter ends up on the wall and the clock is still ticking.

But I took a breath.

I didn’t want to be one of those moms, you know … the one that takes over their kid’s project and forgets what matters most is the process. So, I took our uneven cakes out of the oven and just made peace with the fact that we were going to be late and get the stink eye from some of the moms.  But it was all good. The shredded coconut covered the frosting disaster and the Moana and surfer dude Legos were rocking that beach cake. We had a good time at the event. We brought a cake. We didn’t win any cake decorating prizes, but we were happy with it, my kids were proud of it and I was glad to have put the brakes on my irritability.

But all that activity and buttercream frosting contributed to my lack of writing and parent exhaustion. Daily vitamins are definitely in my future.

 

 

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12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge: Epic Finale

31 May

 

Holy Crap.

This one made my knees buckle.

This was it.

This was the big mamma jamma, definitely worthy of being on The List. Definitely worthy of being on anyone’s list. It was an amazing cake. A take-off-your-shoes-and- dance-Footloose-like-Kevin-Bacon kind of cake.

Yeah … it was that good.

Moist. Crumbly. Decadent. Chocolatey. Sweet. Coconutty. It got to all my senses. Layers of  fluffy light chocolate cake embracing a rich coconut-pecan filling … I mean I could even hear the chocolate telling me it loved me for using it in such a spectacular way.

I mean I had to do something amazing. Something foot-stomping-woo-hoo worthy. Not only was it cake 12 of the 12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge, but my L.A. Kings were one game away from The Stanley Cup Finals … sadly they’re still one more game away. But that wasn’t the only celebration I was anticipating … it was the last day of kindergarten and I needed something to commemorate the occasion. It was a Sandbox-List-Hallmark kind of moment for my son and I needed a cake worthy of all of that awesomeness happening in the Guat Household.

I found it.

German Chocolate Cake.

But let me tell you … it was no Betty Crocker dump and pour kind of cake. I haven’t seen something so complicated since my first recipe the Double Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream. But despite all the measuring, mixing, stirring, chopping, and simmering in the kitchen I persevered. The chocoholic in me insisted and this time I had no chocolate failures. I was proud that my chocolate journey had ended with such an epic finale. No letdowns and no meltdowns, just success in all that tastiness. This one possessed the supernatural power to change your state in a Tony-Robbins instant.

I sat there in the quiet of the night tripping out on baking skills I did not know I even had and appreciating the patience it took to make 12 cakes from scratch. I survived the craziness of measuring cups, the disaster of powered chocolate and melted chocolate in the nooks and crannies of the tiles on the floor, and the frosting on the walls, mixers, and counter tops. I had made it. I was thankful for The Swiffer and OxyClean … they truly helped me survive the chocolate-a-thon. And at the end of all of this I didn’t burn the place down … the kitchen was still standing and I was perhaps two-to-five-to 1000 pounds heavier.  🙂

But it was all good because the evening ended with an awesome cake on the counter and my son giving me a high-five.

 

 

Recipe courtesy of Spoonful of Flavor.

 

For the cake:
  • 2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the filling:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted
For the syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. dark rum
For the chocolate icing:
  • 8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the edges of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chopped chocolate with the water in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until smooth, then set aside until it cools to room temperature.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate. Add the egg yolks, one at a time.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture beating on low speed until incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk and the vanilla until combined. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients.
  5. In a clean dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until the form soft, droopy peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg whites just until incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While the cakes are cooling, make the filling. In a medium saucepan combine the cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Put the butter, salt, toasted coconut and pecan pieces in a large bowl; set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and coat the back of the spoon (about 170-175 degrees F on an instant read thermometer). Pour the hot custard into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.
  8. To make the syrup, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.
  9. To make the icing, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator until firm enough for icing the cake.
  10. To assemble the cake, cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrate bread knife. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing. Pipe a decorative border of the chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

 

 

 

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge: Frosting Rehabilitation

23 May

 

 

 

 

It was colossus and had something called mint chocolate ganache in it. Totally seemed appropriate for a Friday night. Well totally just seemed appropriate in general. Chocolate seems to go with just about everything … especially if it’s three layers.

Granted that this ganache thing got messed up on my first attempt, even though I followed the directions, there it was all mushy and lumpy, looking nothing like the picture. It was sad really, a chocoholic failing at chocolate. I almost turned in my chocolate lover’s membership card.

After all these years of chocolate eating, I should know the chemistry behind the cacao bean and the hormonal changes it suffers when put under duress. I should know about the emulsification process and the ability to fix soggy, lumpy, or watery frosting disaster. I should know.

But I didn’t.

Eventually I figured out how to make it nice and smooth again. And when I say that I figured it out, I mean that I looked up baking failures on the Internet and someone with baking genius knowledge provided the answer. You know … like someone with mad baking skills that got tired of answering failure questions and just posted the answers on a page so that baking failures like myself could feel like a success again in two hours.

I almost killed the cake, but was able to turn it around, which is probably why it took me like half a day to bake this one. Usually when failure hits my baking experiments, I just have to throw it out and give up, or start over if I have enough butter. Luckily I found a secret ingredient and was able to make the miracle of smooth chocolate filling happen. I was also able to bookmark a web page that helped rehabilitate frosting failures like myself.

And I’m so glad I did, because in truth I wanted it to be a knee-buckling awesome type of cake. Not just because it was a mint chocolate chip lover’s dream, but because it was my sister’s birthday this week and I wanted to do something spectacular in her honor. I thought three layers … yeah that seems pretty honorable. Granted she lives like seven states away and wouldn’t be able to taste it, but I could still wish her a happy birthday and let her know I’m celebrating her in spirit and in a big way. With a huge slice.

So for the 11th cake, I discovered The Grasshopper. Something that once again required a paddle attachment, a baking tool that I do not have so I tend to improvise, a process that tends to help sculpt and tone my forearms.

It’s a chocolate workout.

The Grasshopper also required Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, something that was invading every block within a five-mile radius a few months ago. But something I could not find today. So once again I improvised. I used the famous Milano Mint Cookie. Something that my sister really enjoyed snacking on when we were younger.

But regardless of the number of substitutions, frosting failures, and strenuous amounts of manual labor, I eventually finished putting together this light and tasty three-layer chocolate goody. And even though it took me half a day, it was definitely worth it.

 

Recipe courtesy of Pass The Sushi.

 

 

 

 

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge: Celebrating Ellen With Espresso

16 May

“I went in like Clark Kent and came out like Superman … ”

Yes.

That’s exactly how it went down.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean I knew I would have fun regardless, but didn’t realize crossing off these two items from my Bucket List would feel so amazingly good. Like chocolate good. Like espresso beans covered in chocolate good and I don’t even like coffee, but that’s some good stuff.

Yep.

Bucket List Items #7 and #8 …

 

:)

🙂

 

Go to the Ellen DeGeneres Show and dance in the aisles like the Dancer of the Day.

Yep.

That was me … The Guat … getting down to Michael Jackson’s Beat It … Something I don’t think I’ve heard in a while, but I remembered my junior high school moves. I had the excitement of Bucket List Accomplishment in me and the fact that I won a little something special … dude … it was cartwheel worthy for sure.

So how else could I honor this moment other than with chocolate.

The Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake … that was the one. I was debating between German Chocolate and the espresso, but seeing how I’ve had German Chocolate Cake before I thought I’d give something else a try.

Let me tell you … if you’re a coffee drinker this is definitely for you.

Me?

I loved the chocolate part and for some reason any time I add coffee, the chocolate seems to intensify. Something I never knew before I started this whole 12 x 12 Challenge. I’ve never had espresso before, but I was definitely tasting it in the cake. I feel awake. Wide awake. It’s not really a night-time snack kind of cake, more of a daylight hours treat for coffee drinkers. Ellen drinks coffee … she would have enjoyed it.

But note to self … I now know what bakers mean by over-mixing your batter. I never paid too much attention to this piece of advice. I saw it in almost every recipe so far, but didn’t realize how important it was to the whole chemistry of a cake.

Dude.

It matters.

Totally matters.

So if you want a nice, fluffy, chocolatey, cake with a crumbly crumb pay attention to the do not over-mix instructions. They actually know what they’re talking about. Those directions are there for a reason … the reason being making my cake even more fantabulous.

And the frosting?

Well according to the warning this is an advanced frosting, novices beware. Yeah she put out a beware sign in front of her recipe. Granted she was right, but there really wasn’t a need to underestimate me from the get-go. And even if my frosting didn’t quite look like the recipe’s picture, it still came out pretty tasty and my Bucket List Celebration continued, regardless of the toxicity surrounding my environment. It was a good night.

 

 

Recipe courtesy of SavorySimple.net

Recipe courtesy of SavorySimple.net

 

 

 

 

 

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge … Epic Failure

10 May

Shock. Anger. Sadness. Disgust. More anger. And then wrath.

This is what happened. These were the six-stages of my recovery when I ate a piece of chocolate cake that contained mayonnaise. I mean I was repulsed beyond belief and my stomach was pretty upset with me. It was so horrible that Sal de Uvas made a cameo that evening.

This happened a couple of years ago and I never forgot it. In fact neither did my awesome blogging buddies as it’s become one of my most popular posts: Sal de Uvas Saved Me From This Chocolate Cake.

Yes. After this experience I vowed to never commit such a crime against the awesomeness of chocolate.

I hadn’t heard of such of thing and tried to put it out of my mind, but this week the memories, the grossness of it all came rushing back as the recipe of the 12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge called for a cup of mayonnaise.

Never to be used with chocolate cake.

Never to be used with chocolate cake.

Dude.

This was not gonna happened.

It just wasn’t.

I don’t know who edits these lists or how they sort through hundreds of recipes and decide this is it. These are the 12 most amazing chocolate cakes and they will change your life.

I don’t know.

But let me tell you … anything containing a cup of mayonnaise should not be on anyone’s “Best” list. I mean after that whole Beet Bundt Cake experiment I knew, I knew. This recipe was not gonna happen. Just on principle alone, I wasn’t gonna do that to chocolate or the awesome Chocolatiers who create this amazing thing out of cacao beans.

So I boycotted this week’s challenge on account of foul play.

Mayonnaise.

Yeah … maybe on sandwiches for some people, but definitely not in cakes.

So I looked for another recipe and realized that the 12 x 12 didn’t have a cheese cake.  I found one courtesy of  Just Laine. And I don’t know whether I was thrown off by the chocolate mayonnaise cake boycott, or I was exhausted from this week’s life schedule and from perusing all those recipes and measurements. But for some reason I put only two packages of cream cheese instead of three.

I can’t explain it. I mean two and three don’t really look alike at all. And I didn’t realize anything was missing when I did the taste test with the spatulas. But as I was logging off the internet … I saw it.

3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Regular Cream Cheese, softened.

Not two!

Epic fail.

In addition to this debacle I have to wait anywhere from four to twenty-hours of refrigeration before I can dig in. I’ve never made a cheesecake before, had no idea that after baking in the oven you would have to let it hang out in the refrigerator at least four hours if not the whole night.

Fail. Epic fail.

I didn’t even get to taste it today.

But I’m sure that even without that extra pack of cream cheese we’ll be fine. Not change-your-life awesome-cake time. But maybe I’ll have some cream cheese frosting/whipped cream on top of my piece … you know … in order to make up for my mental lapse there.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge … I Can See How Some People Can’t Live Without Their Double Mocha Cappuccino Half-Decaf Latte Espressos

2 May

I’m not much of a coffee drinker.

Never have been … belong to the tea minority.

However I do drink it once a year … on my Dad’s birthday just to honor the “let’s have a cup of coffee and talk about life” conversations we used to have every once in while. So seeing how our favorite hockey team made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I thought I’d whip up the Chocolate Coffee Cake and think of the conversations my dad and I would have had while watching the game.

The recipe called for instant coffee, but knowing my Dad, the coffee connoisseur that he was, instant coffee wouldn’t cut it. Freeze-dried crystals didn’t have a chance. Folgers never had a place in our pantry. It just wasn’t tolerated. So I brewed up a cup of one of his favorites … Guatemalan coffee hailing from the Antigua region.

He’d definitely like it. And after tasting the Chocolate Coffee Cake I can see how some people can’t live without their double mocha cappuccino half-decaf latte espresso. It made the chocolate more chocolatey.

This week’s secret ingredient definitely helped classify the cake as a change your life type of dessert. I’m beginning to impress myself with my baking skills. This week’s challenge definitely came out rich, moist, decadent and with an awesome crumb. Not dry, not mushy. Just right.

Coffee and chocolate … definitely a good combination. Definitely Guatacular.

 

Duuuuuude. I think nuts make everything better.

Duuuuuude. I think nuts make everything better … yeah after my second piece … no doubt.

 

 

The secret ingredient.

The secret ingredient.

 

The strawberries were a nice touch. I'm glad I thought of them.

The strawberries were a nice touch. The original recipe called for raspberries, but seeing how I had an awesome cake with raspberries already, I thought I’d choose a different berry. I’m glad I did. Totally put me on a new sweetness level. Dentists beware.

 

 

Recipe Courtesy of My Life Runs on Food.

 

Ingredients
1-cup sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4-cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs; room temperature
1-cup organic whole milk; room temperature
1/2-cup olive/neutral oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. instant coffee
1 cup boiling water
Chocolate Icing (Recipe Follows)
Garnish: Any nut and/or berries

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, flour and line with parchment paper 9-inch round baking pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl (one used for the mixer), toss sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk,eggs, oil, and vanilla.
4. Add the milk ingredients to the dry/flour ingredients in the large bowl. Mix until just incorporated.
5. Add instant coffee to the boiling water. Pour into the batter and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be thin.
6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Try to make sure they are of equal weight.
7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
8. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and remove the cakes from the pans to continue cooling.
9. When the cakes are completely cool, frost cakes.
10. Garnish with chopped nuts and berries
11. Enjoy!

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients
3 tbsp. instant coffee
1/3-cup whole, organic milk; warm-hot, not boiling
1 stick (1/2-cup) butter
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2-3/4 to 3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions
1. Add instant coffee to the warm milk. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pot. Cool slightly.
3. Place cocoa powder in the bowl of the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Pour butter into the cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
4. Add a third of the milk to the cocoa powder and mix thoroughly. Add half the powder sugar into frosting and mix thoroughly. Continue to alternate between the milk and the powdered sugar, ending with the milk. Add the vanilla and continue whisking until smooth. If frosting is too thick/rough add a little more milk until smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge … I Only Had One Piece

18 Apr

You know what?

They lied.

It didn’t change my life.

It was one of the things that shouldn’t be on a list. You know how they have those 10-best-things list on every magazine or mindless entertainment gossip show. They come up with the beautiful people on the Earth list and then there’s that one person that doesn’t belong –like that materialistic reality star that has absolutely no talent but managed to get on the list because they had a sex tape.

Yeah.

This is what happened to this bundt cake. It should not have been on the 12 Life-Changing Chocolate Cakes List.

I only had one piece.

Just one. It never really happened before. I’m an automatic two-piece-kind-of-gal when it comes to chocolate cake. But this time I only had one. And it had nothing to do with what it looked like … it looked enticing, smelled awesome, and the texture was nice, light, and crumbly. I couldn’t wait to dig in. I mean look at it … if it was at an Easter Brunch Buffet, I’d be all over that.

 

:)

Notice the size is not as big as my previous 12 x 12 chocolate tastings.

 

But I realized not everything goes with chocolate.

I never thought I would say that but yes it’s true.

Almost everything … not this. This was supposed to add a natural bit of sweetness in addition to the honey and maple syrup. But all it added was an un-camouflaged vegetable.

Beets.

It was a Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake.

I mean when you think about it, really I should have been psyched. Beets have all kinds of benefits. I mean it has Boron which is supposed to produce massive amounts of sex hormones so dudes should be feeding this to their wives all the time. It has all of the awesome vitamins, all the ABC’s, plus iron. It’s supposed to cleanse my body and prevent a few forms of cancer. Plus it has all these natural components that are supposed to lower my blood pressure, relax my mind, and help with my depression.

Yeah …

I should have been psyched, but I’ve never mixed vegetables and cake before. I know it exists out there, I mean I’ve had carrot cake, not too fond of it, but I’ve had it. However chocolate and vegetables? Never heard of it. But if I was trying to get my kids to eat more vegetables this would be the cake to do it. But that wasn’t my plan. I wasn’t going for that. I was going for the change your life cake.

It was on the list. I had to give it a try.  After all it was chocolate. And in all fairness it was pretty tasty, pretty decadent, all the parts … except when I got to the beets. Imagine if I would have followed the directions … there would  be beets in every bite. I didn’t do it on purpose though. It said three medium-sized beets and that’s what I got. They were supposed to yield two cups of shredded beets. However I just came up with one.

It’s all good though. I think I was better off with my adjustment. I was able to weave my way in and out of that hidden vegetable. But you never know … if you’re a vegetarian, or love beets, or want more Boron in your diet so you can have all kinds of hormones surging, then this is the cake for you. This cake is on your list.

 

 

Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake Recipe

 

Cook the beets ahead of time and this cake will come together fairly quickly. You can boil, steam, or roast your beets whole, then peel and grate them. Recipe adapted from the Green Market Baking Book.
Ingredients
  • 3 medium beets, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup organic, unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 10-cup bundt pan and dust it lightly with cocoa.
  2. Grate the beets on a box grater and measure them; you should have 2 cups of grated beets. Transfer them to a medium colander and allow them to drain of any excess moisture while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, maple syrup and honey until everything is well blended.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Sift together the flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gently fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, but do not over mix.
  6. Fold the beets into the batter until distributed, then scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan and spread around until it is even.
  7. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool, in the pan on a wire rack, for a good 20 minutes.
  8. Carefully invert the pan onto a plate, tap gently, and the cake will drop out. Serve warm or cool. Will keep for up to four days, well wrapped in plastic.

Recipe Courtesy of Simple Bites

 

 

 

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge … The One That Requires Massive Wipes

11 Apr

Just when I think I might not pull it off … I do.

I like that I can surprise myself. Makes me feel chocolate-worthy.

Although I didn’t think it would happen today … there was frosting and powered sugar everywhere. It was a culinary disaster demanding the power of wipes all over the counter tops and the magic of The Swiffer on all floors.

However the recipe seemed so deceptively easy being that I cooked everything in one pan, but I realized I’m not that great of a pourer when it comes to stove-top action. And if your hand-eye coordination sporadically fails you, like it does me, wipes are definitely a necessity when attempting this recipe.

Costco-sized wipes.

Regardless of the mess, it was amazingly awesome. It was the first sheet cake of the challenge, so I was worried it wouldn’t rate as well as the other double-decker dessert masterpieces I baked. But when someone calls this recipe the “Lighter Version of Grandma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake,” you know you’ve got something. Grandma’s seal of approval on anything coming from the kitchen is high-five worthy.

Plus I had to make something spectacular that would last until Sunday … you know to celebrate.

Because you all know what’s happening on Sunday, don’t you?

Don.

Don Draper is back and I need to celebrate the return of Mad Men with something special. The Lighter Version of Grandma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake seemed appropriate. Although just because it says it’s lighter doesn’t mean it’s less chocolatey, it’s plenty chocolatey and buckle-your-knees tasty. The “light” in the title  just means you’re tempted to eat more pieces because it has the word “light” in it and you think it will be all good. It’s not … you still have to walk it off, dance it off, or work it out. Especially if you eat half of the cake.

Yeah … I think I might do some push-ups tomorrow.

 

This definitely made me happy today :)

This definitely made me happy today 🙂

 

Recipe Courtesy of I Heart Eating.
Chocolate Cake
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. cocoa
1 c. water
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
1/4 c. fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. granulated sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Chocolate Icing
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. low-fat buttermilk
3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet (I use a 15×11-inch rimmed cookie sheet) with edges.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  3. Once butter has melted, stir in water and cocoa powder; bring to a boil.
  4. Once at a boil, add buttermilk, and stir to combine.
  5. Remove pan from heat.
  6. Add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and stir until well-combined.
  7. Stir in sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  9. While the cake is baking prepare the icing.
  10. For the icing, combine the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk. Bring to a boil.
  11. Remove from heat, and add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and nuts (if using). Stir to combine. Pour icing over hot cake and spread evenly over cake

12 X 12 Chocolate Challenge … The Light One

4 Apr

The creative minds of my fellow chocolate lovers amaze me. It never occurred to me that someone could create a Hot Chocolate Cake. How do people come up with that?

I’m a tea drinker myself, but just because I enjoy my Yogi Tea before bedtime doesn’t mean I don’t savor a good cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on an extra cold day. So it wasn’t a surprise that I enjoyed the chocolatey treat of this week’s 12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge.

Hot Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

It was definitely moist and rich on the cocoa bean side, but lighter than the other cakes in this challenge. Probably had something to do with the fluffy frosting. It’s no wonder my kids particularly enjoyed this cake, especially the frosting. They are taking the taste testing phase of these challenges very seriously. So glad I eased up on the sugar used for the frosting otherwise it would have been too sweet and my kids would have never gone to sleep. Also glad their portions are on the tiny side, nothing like mom portions. I feel my stress level requires larger pieces. All moms deserve bigger pieces. It’s how they get to their Zen State of Mind.

 

My tasty end of day  portion with my cup of tea.

My tasty end of day portion with my cup of tea.

 

So if you’re looking for a chocolatey cake that’s not too heavy you might want to give it a try. Although I’m not sure how many calories are in this thing … I figure a lot. So if you’re on a diet, this might not be for you.

 

 

Ingredients

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c. hot chocolate (I use 1 cup of hot water mixed with 1.25 oz. of hot chocolate powder)
1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. Greek yogurt or sour cream (not fat-free)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot chocolate; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer (either hand or stand), beat eggs for 1 minute.
  5. Add milk, butter, and yogurt. Beat until well-combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla extract until incorporated.
  7. Add hot chocolate mixture, and stir to combine.
  8. Add flour mixture, and stir in until just combined.
  9. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  10. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack until room temperature.
  13. The cake is now ready to frost and assemble

 

Recipe courtesy of I Heart Eating.

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge … You Better Have a Glass of Milk

28 Mar

I love my family. I do. But just like any normal dysfunctional family you love them even more when there is a buffer zone.

Space … it’s essential.

And I was loving the 2,000-plus miles between us while she was on vacation. I felt like Independent George. I had no extra stress piled on me, no free-parenting-advice being thrown my way on a daily basis, and no Univision or TeleMundo. Well in truth I don’t mind Univision or TeleMundo, but what drives me crazy is the bad dialogue being exchanged between two really good-looking people in one of the four telenovelas she watches. The fact that I have to witness it because she clamps onto the remote control with a kung-fu grip burns me out.

For a month I had the luxury of watching television shows while they were actually on the air. No need for the DVR as I was in charge of the remote control.

And now that power is gone … that buffer zone is gone.

This called for some chocolate.

But not just any chocolate … a 12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge type of chocolate.

I went for the big one: Black Magic Chocolate Cake.

 

Dude...definitely working it's chocolate magic to make me feel better.

Dude…definitely working it’s chocolate magic to make me feel better.

 

Chocolate on top of chocolate on top of chocolate.

Dude.

I felt the occasion called for it and the Chocolate Magic didn’t let me down.

Rich. Moist. Decadent. Badass. Definitely a chocolate lover’s dream. It made me eat in slow motion — the kind of slow motion where you close your eyes, tilt your head back, take a deep breath, and just stomp your feet twice because it’s so good — yeah.  It made me completely forget about the non-existant buffer zone. It worked its magic and made my night, and what was even more amazing was that the recipe was easy to follow. No crazy steps or extra attachments needed. Just my kind of baking. The simple kind with extraordinary results.

But I’ve gotta say, you better have a big glass of milk when you dive into this … hmph … maybe two glasses.

 

 

Cake
  • butter for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup brewed strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 bag (12-ounces) semi sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 stick butter

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Butter and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. You should have a thin batter.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes; remove cakes from pans to wire racks.
  • Cool completely before frosting.
To prepare the frosting, place chopped chocolate in a medium mixing bowl; set aside.
  • Place whipping cream and butter in saucepan and cook over medium heat to just a boil.
  • Pour cream mixture over chocolate; whisk vigorously until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Remove from fridge and stir; refrigerate about 1 more hour or until spreading consistency.
  • Spread about 1/4 to 1/3 of frosting on one cake layer; top with the other cake layer and spread frosting on top and sides of cake.

 

Recipe courtesy of Diet Hood