Double Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake


July 2014 100When we were vacationing in Florida last summer, I spotted Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and immediately knew that I needed to make a double chocolate stout bundt cake.

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Would you believe that I made this cake in the summer, AND it’s taken me so long to get this one posted?!  Yikes!  Better late than never, I suppose.

Double Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake Adapted from Kiss My Bundt

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 cups flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup Double Chocolate Stout

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini bundt pan (4 cavity) with PAM spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla with an electric mixer.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet in thirds, beating on low.  Set aside.  If you add the dry mixture too fast, your batter can get lumpy.

In a medium saucepan, boil the water and stout.  Pour the boiling liquid into the cake batter beating on low, just until combined.  The cake batter will be thin.

Pour batter into greased mini (4 cavities), 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan; then invert onto a wire rack, gently flipping them right side up when they are cool enough to handle.

Serve plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or (my personal favorite) top with chocolate ganache.

Ganache Adapted from The Pastry Queen

8 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used Baker’s), chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup light Karo syrup

1/8 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

Heat the heavy cream in a medium bowl in the microwave 1-2 minutes, until cream is very hot.  Then add the chopped chocolate and let set for about 2 minutes.  Then slowly whisk in the syrup, vanilla, and salt.  Continue whisking until combined.  Don’t over do it, because it will cause air bubbles!

Pour on top of your cakes!


My Favorite Chocolate Fudge Cake (Gluten Free)

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February 2015 150

I love chocolate cake, but being gluten intolerant for the last 13 years – well, I don’t always go to the trouble of making myself dessert for holidays and special occasions.  But that may have to change since I’ve discovered this recipe!

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This cake is dense, moist, fudgy, and I love the texture of the chocolate chips.  No need for frosting!  You could serve it as a muffin, but it just screams dessert to me!

My Favorite Chocolate Fudge Cake Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used Cup 4 Cup)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Natural Hershey’s)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 heaping cup sour cream

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup hot coffee

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with 18 liners, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Next, measure the buttermilk, canola oil, vanilla, eggs, and sour cream and whisk together in the measuring cup or in another bowl.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and, using an electric mixer, beat until combined.  Slowly beat in the hot coffee.  Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Using a 2.07 ounce disher, scoop the batter into the muffin liners (I prefer to use large liners – 2 x 1 1/2 inch, I bought mine here).  Top each muffin with chocolate chips (this takes the remaining 1/2 cup).

Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  If there is melted chocolate on the toothpick, instead of batter, get a clean toothpick and insert it into a new spot.

These keep well for 3-4 days, partially covered at room temperature.  You may also freeze them for up to a month and reheat them in the microwave.

*Just a note: I’ve tried making this recipe with regular wheat flour for my family and it turned out dry and unappealing.  Believe me, it’s best made with Cup 4 Cup flour for your favorite gluten free people!


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January 2015 055I have always wanted to make tiramisu.  Always.  When my husband invited his co-workers over for an Italian lunch, I knew this had to make the cut.

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I piped the mascarpone filling on the top for decoration and dusted it with Dutch processed cocoa powder.  Don’t try and substitute with regular cocoa powder – it’s bitter.

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The only special equipment you need for this particular cake is an 11 x 17 pan, acetate rings, and a square cake ring.  Let’s get started!!


Sponge Cake Adapted from The Sono Baking Company Cookbook

3/4 cup cake flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

4 large eggs, room temperature

4 large egg yolks, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray an 11 x 17 inch pan with nonstick spray, line with parchment, and spray again.  Set aside.

In small bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch – set aside.

In the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer, beat the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla (with the whisk attachment) on high speed for 8 minutes.  The mixture should be thick, pale yellow, and fluffy.

Remove the bowl and fold in the flour mixture until it has been completely incorporated.  Continue to fold – even if you think you’ve combined all of it because the cornstarch has a tendency to stick to the bowl, and your cake will be ruined if all of the flour isn’t incorporated.

Once you’re sure all the flour has been folded in, slowly add in the oil while continuing to fold.  It is helpful to have another person slowly drizzle the oil for you while you fold the batter, if possible.

Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 10-15 minutes.  To test the cake, stick the center of the cake with a toothpick and make sure that there is no batter on it.  Remove the cake from the oven and let set for 2 minutes.

Then carefully turn the cake over onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Don’t wait too long to do this because the hot pan it’s resting in may make the cake collapse.  Let it cool for 30 minutes to an hour on the wire rack.  When it feels cool to the touch it’s ready for the next step.

Mascarpone Custard Adapted from Everyday Occasions

4 cups heavy cream

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

pinch salt

10 large egg yolks

6 Tablespoons cornstarch

8 Tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into Tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 (8 ounce) tubs of mascarpone cheese

Crack the egg yolks into a large glass (heat-proof) bowl and set aside.  In a medium bowl, place the chunks of butter and vanilla and set a fine mesh sieve on top (I have some similar to these); set aside.

In a medium pot, whisk together the sugar with the cornstarch to break up any lumps.  Then add the heavy cream and salt and whisk constantly over medium heat (about 5 on a gas burner) until thick and bubbly.  Continue whisking for 1 minute.

Slowly, whisk about 1/2 of the hot cream into the egg yolks whisking vigorously to prevent the egg yolks from scrambling.  Then slowly whisk in another 1/2 cup of hot cream.

Then place the remaining pot of hot cream back on the stove and vigorously whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the hot cream and bring it to a boil.  Cook for 1 minute.

Take the cream/egg mixture off the heat and pour it through the sieve.  When all of the custard has been pushed through the sieve, whisk constantly to incorporate the butter and vanilla into the hot cream mixture.

Pour the hot custard into a heat-proof bowl and let it set at room temperature for about 30 minutes to cool.  Once it has cooled enough to move, place a paper towel on top of the bowl and place in the refrigerator to continue to cool.

Once the custard is cool, about 30-45 minutes, beat in the tubs of mascarpone cheese.  The custard is ready to be spread and piped onto the tiramisu.

*This custard will be shiny, thick, and spreadable the first day.  However, on the second day it will thickened so much that you can scoop it.  Don’t worry, it’s crazy delicious and great on cream puffs because it’ll stay in place!

**If the custard “breaks” and separates on you, try processing it in a food processor or using an immersion blender if you have one.  It should come together completely.

Now you’ll need 1 cup of espresso.

To Assemble:

Use the square cake mold to cut the cake into two pieces.  Then wash the mold.  Line the mold with an acetate ring.  Then place in layer of the sponge cake.

Brush the top of the sponge cake with espresso.  Spoon on about 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of custard cream.  Top with the next layer of sponge cake, brush the cake with espresso, top with a layer of custard cream.  Then fill a piping bag with the remaining custard and pipe the top.  Dust with Dutch processed cocoa powder.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Remove the mold and acetate before serving.  Keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Bourbon Pecan Sauce

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January 2015 1061

Last summer we celebrated my Grandmother’s 90th birthday with loads of sweets, plus an ice cream bar.  This bourbon pecan sauce made it’s debut and was popular enough to get a repeat.

Bourbon Pecan Sauce Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

pinch of cinnamon

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 1/4 cups pecans, toasted (in the oven for about 6 minutes on 350 degrees) and coarsely chopped

3 Tablespoons good bourbon whiskey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium pot, add the butter, sugar, corn syrup, water, salt and cinnamon and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted.  Then let the mixture cook on medium heat, undisturbed, until golden.

Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream, bourbon, vanilla, and chopped pecans.  The mixture will appear runny until it cools down.

Serve warm over ice cream.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat as needed.  Keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 weeks.


Baked Peach Oatmeal

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December 2014 309I’m always on the lookout for healthy breakfast options for my kids.  When I saw this oatmeal I just knew I had to try it.  Peaches, oatmeal, cinnamon, and a healthy serving of heavy cream – sign me up!  Okay, so the heavy cream isn’t particularly healthy, but it is delicious. . .and completely optional.

Baked Peach Oatmeal Adapted from Southernplate.com

2 cups old fashioned oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

29 ounce can sliced peaches, drained

heavy cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the first 6 ingredients.  Pour the milk, eggs, and vanilla into a blender and puree.  Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients.  Pour in the melted butter.  Stir just until combined.  Add the drained peaches.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.  The oatmeal should be set – no jiggling in the middle when the pan is moved.  Stir and serve with a healthy dose of heavy cream, if desired.

Refrigerate any leftovers for 3 days.


2 ingredient Whole Chicken {In the Crockpot}

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December 2014 084

I think I’m almost ready for the New Year.  I don’t really do the whole resolution thing per se, but I do spend quite a bit of time trying to think of how to simplify my life.  And for me, dinner is a big part of that simplification process.  And dinner doesn’t get any simpler than this!  A whole chicken roasted in the Crockpot.

I sort of stumbled into this method out of necessity.  I live near a chicken processing plant and buy my chickens already seasoned and frozen – in bulk.  It was taking forever to defrost a whole chicken in my refrigerator (because it thinks it’s a freezer – can’t wait for it to die so I can buy a new one!), so out of desperation I threw the whole frozen chicken into my Crockpot, and I’ve never looked back.

If you don’t have access to already seasoned and frozen chickens, simply season your own and freeze!  There is no need to add water when cooking the chicken!

2 Ingredient Whole Chicken

1 whole chicken

seasoning salt or other spice rub

Generously season the whole chicken with seasoning salt, and place in a 2 quart freezer bag.  Once frozen, use any time you like by placing the whole frozen chicken in a Crockpot for 10 hours on low.

*I have cooked the chicken for 8 hours on low in a pinch, and it was good, just not as tender as cooking for 10 hours.

Bonus!  You can strain the juices from the cooked chicken and freeze in large ice cube containers for instant stock cubes!





Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

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December 2014 009So you need cookies for a class party or teacher’s gift?  And it’s last minute.  Because if you’re like me, you’ve spaced, and time just got away from you.  If you took my advice from my last post about making cookie dough for the refrigerator or freezer, then I’ve got you covered!

Just make a quick run to the store and pick up some holiday M&M’s or regular ones (just pick out the red and green), and some holiday sprinkles.

These cookies would also be great for Santa, especially if your kids love chocolate chip cookies like my nephew Caleb.  He loves them so much, he wants to make Santa chocolate chip cookies on Christmas Eve this year, and this is a great way to make them look special enough for the big guy!

You’ll need. . .

1 batch of salted chocolate chip cookie dough

some red and green M&M’s

festive sprinkles

Just take your premade (or fresh) dough balls and stick M&M’s around the ball and roll in sprinkles.

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Then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes (if fresh) and maybe 15-20 if frozen.

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