Tag Archives: desserts

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


  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: Celebrating Ellen With Espresso

16 May

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


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.


Bucket List Items #7 and #8 …





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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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

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.


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 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


  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


12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge … The High-Five-Worthy Cupcakes

21 Mar

I think I like it because it matches the blueprint.

You follow the directions and it comes out exactly as you would have hoped.

There’s always a little wear and tear, a little learning experience, and sometimes you don’t have a spatula attachment, or know what a spatula attachment is, but you use Guat muscle to stir things up. Doesn’t always look like the picture in the magazine, but after tasting it, it’s still worthy of a five-star review. Even after walnut spillage.

Matching your blueprint.

I like that baking does that. It gives me hope because it’s something that rarely happens in my life no matter how much planning is done. Something always happens. Life always presents you lessons at a time when all you really need are answers. So I’m grateful that I can control the outcome of my baking adventures. I’m glad that I can follow a plan and know the outcome is going to be high-five worthy. It calms me to know that I’ve got at least one thing under control amongst all the chaos. Even better when it involves chocolate.

Oooohhh … chocolate.

This week’s 12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge was surprisingly easy and tasty. Cupcakes for Two. Vegan cupcakes if you could believe that.

Yeah, I couldn’t.

I’m a carnivore. Always have been so I was a little skeptical about this recipe. But it was on the list and so I was up for the challenge. I’ve never made something like this before … and after a stressful day I can say it was awesome how everything fell into place and the cupcakes were chocolatey and moist. They were high-five worthy.

I love cupcakes for two, even though I ate both of them and once again the frosting — Fluffy Walnut Mousse Frosting — was the best part. And even if you don’t make the frosting, the cupcakes, made with regular or soy milk, are worth it.


One of my main ingredients ... thank you to the coupons that made this possible.

One of my main ingredients … thank you to the coupons that made this possible.


Never roasted nuts for frosting before, ended up being pretty tasty.

Never roasted nuts for frosting before, ended up being pretty tasty.


Dude these were so tasty ... I'm gonna have to quadruple the recipe so I have enough to share.

Dude these were so tasty … I’m gonna have to quadruple the recipe so I have enough to share.


The recipe was courtesy of Edible Mosaic.

The recipe was courtesy of Edible Mosaic.



  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1/8 teaspoon + 1/16 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon instant coffee powder (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 tablespoons milk, any kind you like (be sure to use a vegan “milk” if keeping you’re keeping the recipe vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fluffy Walnut Mousse, or any frosting you like


  1. Preheat oven to 350F; line a muffin tray with 2 paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and coffee powder in a medium bowl. Add the milk, oil, and vanilla, and stir just until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  3. Divide the batter between the 2 lined muffin wells and bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes.
  4. Cool 5 minutes in the tray, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  5. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top, or frost with your favorite frosting, nut butter, or jam.


Measurement Tip: Note that 1/16 teaspoon is about 1 pinch.


Celebrating 600 Posts with a 12 by 12 Challenge

12 Mar

I took on the challenge. As a chocoholic I couldn’t possibly resist.

Although the title itself made me a little hesitant. I hate titles that tell me I need to do something. 10 steps you need to jumpstart your career. 10 exercises you need for flatter abs. 10 things your relationship needs right now. 10 celebrities you need to watch for. I don’t need to do anything. You don’t know me. So most of the time I don’t pay attention to stuff like this.

But something caught my eye.

I looked passed the bossy need in the title and just focused on the key words: Life-Changing Chocolate Cakes.

Yeah if you say something like that to someone like me, you better have the Bobby Flay-Tyler Florence-Food Network chops to back it up or we’re gonna have problems.

So I looked at the pictures, accompanying this article.



Don’t know if they’d be life-changing but I could guarantee they’d fix a this-sucks-bottom-less-pit kind of day in a second.


Twelve ultra chocolatey cakes claiming to possess the supernatural power to change your state.

The pictures were pretty convincing, so I told myself I was up for the challenge. After looking at the pictures, my son said he would help too. Official test taster. My daughter would be the egg cracker and flour pourer. So seeing how I was fully staffed I felt I was properly prepared to take on the challenge. Twelve cakes in twelve weeks.

I figured this week would be the perfect time to launch this challenge, seeing how I wrote my 600th post and all. I figured it was time to celebrate.

Chocolate is always a great celebratory treat.

And Double Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream sounded like the way to go.


What did I start with ... only the best ingredient

What did I start with … only the best ingredient.


Added some fresh ingredients

Added some fresh ingredients.


I was able to turn the raspberries into this swiss meringue buttercream filling. I love chocolate. I really do, but this was definitely the best part of the cake.

I was able to turn the raspberries into this Swiss meringue buttercream filling. I love chocolate. I really do, but this was definitely the best part of the case.


Made sure I spread it over every crack and crevasse.

Made sure I spread it over every crack and crevasse.


My finished product ...

My finished product …


Let the taste testing begin.

The taste-testing phase begun …


Incidentally I have to thank my good friend Gisela for sending me these cake recipes.

Don’t you love it, when a friend gets you.  Really gets you.

If you want to try this recipe out here it is.