Mar 5 2012

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

Can I let you in on a little secret? Baking brings out the perfectionist in me. I have very high standards for how things look, especially if it’s going to end up on my blog. And it was especially important to me that this cake look perfect. Why? Because this is one of my favorite cakes, right up there with the chocolate raspberry cake.

making the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

The first time I made this cake, way before I started blogging, it looked perfect. Just gorgeous. And then when I made it for the blog last week, well, it was ok, but it wasn’t up to my standards. I let the chocolate ganache topping cool too much (what can I say, our apartment is sadly a refrigerator in the winter) before pouring it on the cake and ended up having to spread it rather than letting it drip down the sides. Did it change how the cake tasted? No, not at all. But it mattered to me. I wanted the cake to look perfect. I need everything I can to get you to get into your kitchen to start making this because I’m convinced the world would be a much happier place if everyone could just get a slice or two of this cake. It is that good.

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake Continue reading

Share

Oct 16 2011

pumpkin buttermilk bundt cake

Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake

I absolutely love fall foods and can’t get enough of all the pumpkin foods so prevalent this time of year. There’s of course the pumpkin cinnamon roll pancakes, which may well be my most favorite of all, there’s pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and even pumpkin pie soda from Maine Root (which I was initially wary about but am now totally addicted to). So when Joseph and I went to his parents house for the weekend to celebrate his dad’s birthday, pumpkin cake seemed like an easy choice.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake

My physical therapist has been giving me a hard time about how much I’ve been doing on my feet since my knee surgery a few months ago. Didn’t she understand that I needed to make those pumpkin cinnamon roll pancakes and then spend the afternoon checking out Oktoberfest in Harvard Square? Fall only happens once a year! Nevertheless, I promised her I would take it easy over the weekend, but there was no way I wasn’t going to make a cake to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday! Luckily this pumpkin cake is both chock-full of fall and easy to make, which meant less time on my feet.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Continue reading

Share

Sep 26 2011

the easiest chocolate cake recipe in the world

the easiest chocolate cake recipe in the world

I’ve been sharing all these fantastic birthday celebration treats and this one takes the cake (ha!) as far as ease goes. I am convinced this is the easiest chocolate cake recipe in the world. I even googled “easiest chocolate cake recipe in the world” to see what would come up and I was honestly really disappointed with the results (or pleased, I guess, because I still think I’m right).

The first recipe is from Gourmet and it calls itself “World’s Easiest Chocolate Cake” but just a quick glance at the ingredients proves that it’s not. There are not one but two kinds of chocolate that you need to chop up, there’s the butter that you also need to chop up, 2 eggs that need to be beaten, and it calls for cake flour. Now, we always have a good supply of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and bread flour on hand because we use them all the time, but I try to avoid buying other flours unless I really need them. Even then, I try to only buy specialty flours from the bulk bins at the grocery, otherwise I find forgotten whole wheat pastry flour that’s gone rancid in the back of the cupboard months later. Anyway, all this is to say that as much as I love Gourmet and as fantastic as that recipe looks (it has bourbon in it too!) I think calling it the world’s easiest cake might be a bit of a stretch.

oil and coffee

This cake from Moosewood, on the other hand, calls for ingredients that I always have on hand. In fact, this was my go-to cake when I was in college because the ingredients are all shelf stable, so once I bought them, I could make the cake whenever I wanted to. And for that reason, it continues to be my favorite fallback recipe for any last minute potluck, dinner party, or just plain ‘ol chocolate craving. I know I won’t need to make a grocery run and it takes just a few minutes to throw it all together (it’s also known as the Six Minute Cake).

Now, if you were paying attention a minute ago, you noticed I said all the ingredients are shelf stable. Which leads us to the surprise of this cake: it’s vegan! I guarentee you, no one, absolutely no one is going to ever guess this cake isn’t full of butter and eggs and all that other good stuff. Which makes this the perfect birthday cake for my friend, Lisa, whose birthday is also in September! Lisa had been vegetarian for several years and then went vegan a few years ago. I’m incredibly impressed with her commitment to it, because honestly, I could never give up cheese and all my dairy-filled baked goods (not to mention these ribs)! This cake, however, would make that healthy lifestyle a little more doable.

easiest chocolate cake in the world

Continue reading

Share

Sep 19 2011

three layer chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting

Three Layer Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting

My dad’s birthday is only six days after mine and when I was growing up that meant that we always had two cakes at our big family birthday parties. There was one for  me that was usually yellow Duncan Hines with chocolate frosting and then his, which was always, always a chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting. It’s his absolute favorite, and I have to say with good reason. It is one tasty cake.

Beating Marshmallow Frosting

There was a moment of crisis one year when my mom discovered that the mix she used to make the frosting was discontinued. We looked up a recipe for marshmallow frosting (known more traditionally as seven minute frosting – read the instructions and you’ll understand why) and I volunteered to make it. What a mistake. I found myself standing over a hot stove trying to whip the whites by hand over a pot of boiling water. It took forever and I had to trade off with my mom a couple of times. It was tedious and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to sign up for that again. But you know what? That’s why I registered for an electric hand mixer.

Marshmallow Frosting on Chocolate Cake

Continue reading

Share