Tag Archives: Chocolate cake

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge: Getting Drunk on Chocolate

25 Apr

To make up for last week’s chocolate disaster I wanted to make a change-your-life cake that would actually live up to its hype.

You know … make me breathe different. Make me change my state.

Now normally the frosting or the filling on the cakes blows me away and sort of takes over the chocolate challenge. But I gotta say this week the sweet stout-infused whipped cream frosting came in second to the amazingly moist light chocolate stout cake with a tender crumb that makes you close your eyes and sigh.

I thought beer was just good for burgers and carne asada.

Never cakes.

I mean I was a little worried considering my chocolate beet disaster from last week. I didn’t really want any surprise ingredients. And if you want to know the truth I’m not a real big stout drinker. All I knew about stout was that Guinness made one. My stout education was limited. So when I went to pick up a bottle stout for this recipe I had no idea which one was sad and which one would rock my world.

My pub expert TB Markinson lives way across the Atlantic Ocean and I didn’t realize I’d be stout shopping, otherwise I would have totally asked her for some guidance before today’s baking adventure began.

So after about thirty minutes of studying bottles and cool labels I asked the beer dude to give me some recommendations on good stout. He got into an apples and oranges discussion about preferences, textures, and finishes. Then the “say-what?” expression on my face made him realize I was a stout rookie and he just pointed me in the direction of Samuel Smith.






I could have easily eaten half of the cake and gotten drunk off of it … but I didn’t need to go into a sugar coma, so I showed some restraint and only ate two pieces.

I’m back on the saddle again. Giddy up.



This recipe is ginormous so unless you’re have a gazillion people I suggest you half the recipe and create a more modest two layer cake.


Recipe courtesy of Brooklyn Supper


Chocolate Stout Cake (adapted from Bon Appétit via Epicurious)
makes three 8-inch layers

for the cake
2 cups good stout, such as Samuel Smith’s or Guinness
4 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Dutch-process cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, line bottom with a parchment circle, and then butter that too.

In a heavy-bottomed medium-sized sauce pan, heat the butter and stout over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, turn heat to low and whisk in the cocoa. Remove pan from heat, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.

Using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sour cream together on low speed. Slowly add the cocoa mixture, mixing just until combined. (Scrape down the sides as needed.) Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat just until it is well-incorporated. Turn off the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides and catch any stray flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, and then slide into the oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

After 10 minutes, flip the cakes onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

for the whipped cream stout frosting (adapted from Gourmet Live via Epicurious)
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup stout
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

Use a mixer or whisk to beat all of the ingredients to stiff (but still supple) peaks. Frost and assemble the cake.

Keep in the refrigerator until your are ready to serve for optimal looks.


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.


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.


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.
  • 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
  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 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)


  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.




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 Âľ c. granulated sugar
1 Âľ 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


  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.


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.



  • 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


  • 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


Sal de Uvas Saved Me From This Chocolate Cake

28 Jan

I don’t think I’ll look at chocolate cake the same way again. I love chocolate. It’s my go-to choice for anything catastrophic in my day. I mean other than profanity, chocolate does it for family interactions, writer rejections, traffic, baby blowouts, college football losses and cliffhangers on some of my favorite AMC or FX shows.

English: Chocolate cake with chocolate frostin...

Image via Wikipedia

I love the cacao tree. It’s awesome, but what this lady did with it in cake…not cool man…not cool. Bad things should not be happening to chocolate cake.

I went to another get-together in the afternoon and I didn’t repeat my food-a-thon from yesterday, but when I realized that they had chocolate cake, it was on. I was already thinking up an excuse as to why I  needed to take two pieces home with me…you know, invent a relative that’s staying with me and say I’d like to take her some, knowing full well that I’d probably devour it at the stoplight.

I grabbed my piece of cake, not a sliver, not a slice, a healthy ginormous chunk of the bad boy and began eating before I sat down.  The texture was different. Something was different about it. It was softer, but something was different.

When I asked where she got it, she said she had baked it herself.

“It’s my mayonnaise chocolate cake.”

“Your what?”

“My mayonnaise chocolate cake. I saw the recipe it’s sometimes called the ‘Depression Era‘ cake because I guess in those times people used what they could find.”

If you don’t have butter, don’t be making it. Or at least put a label on it and say this is my mayonnaise cake, dig in.

Dude. Depression Era indeed. After hearing that I was depressed. In fact I was sick. All I could think of was a white vinegar-smelling blob trying to molest my chocolate.  Apparently mayonnaise is an emulsion of ingredients that are normally un-blendable. Who wants that with their chocolate. I mean in a sandwich, I get it. Although I don’t really add mayonnaise to my stuff, I’m a deli mustard person myself. But I understand why people put it on sandwiches. It was intended to be a spread, not a major ingredient in chocolate cake.

I was completely grossed out. I mean I know there are eggs and oil in this white blob, but dude sometimes ingredients need to be mixed the cake way instead of forming a sandwich spread and then adding it to your cake as if it were pudding or frosting. I could feel my stomach yelling obscenities at me. It was one of those moments where you so wanted to throw up, but it doesn’t happen so you’re left with this sick feeling.

Sal De Uvas Picot…My Savior

I was grossed out the entire day until the little white, blue and green packet rescued my stomach. Sal de Uvas Picot saved me. It’s an antacid imported from Mexico. One of the best things other than their Tecate or Dos Equis beverages. It rebooted my system and was thankful we had some in the medicine cabinet.

No more visits to Mayonnaise Lady. I don’t need anymore Tupperware, they sell Rubbermaid at Costco.