Birthdays sometimes go unnoticed in my office, and while I can’t bake a cake for everyone, I try to do something. We hired a new project assistant a couple months back and we kind of forgot her birthday. My excuse was that I was working from home because of my never-ending knee problems. But I decided I would bake a cake for her 25th birthday + one week. You know, keep everyone on their toes about whether or not there was going to be a cake.
I didn’t really know what kind of cake she liked, but I figured that most people like chocolate (how can you not?) and I had seen this stunning cake on tastepotting. I was a little thrown off by the ingredients because I was unfamiliar with golden syrup. I knew it was popular in England (coincidentally, I had read about it just the day before I cake across the recipe), but I didn’t want to go from store to store trying to find it. I have since learned that it’s actually available in every single grocery store I shop in. Oh well.
I love baking for other people. There’s just so much satisfaction in giving someone one of your favorite treats, like chocolate glazed gingerbread cakes, chocolate raspberry cake, apple cider cake, or a cranberry upside-down cake (can you tell I like cake?). But what about when that person is on a diet? You’d hardly be a good friend if you showed up with these sinfully delicious, rich, gooey, brownies.
This chocolate angel food cake has become my answer to that. It’s light and and airy and chocolatey and oh so very good, and the best part? There’s no butter, no egg yolks, no oil, and hey, it’s half air! How bad can it possibly be? It’s a much healthier alternative but it’s still so good, especially served with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream.
So when I said I’d bring dessert to a dinner party to celebrate the birthday of a friend that has lost over 30 pounds through several months of hard work and dedication, this is the dessert I immediately thought of. But I was still pretty wobbly after knee surgery and was a little nervous to committing to that much time standing in the kitchen. What if I got halfway through and just couldn’t stand long enough to finish it? Continue reading
Let me get straight to the point and tell you that this is one of my very favorite cake recipes. It’s chocolate (which scores it several points right off the bat) accented by a delightfully tart raspberry filling. The layers are moist and rich and the three of them piled up together give it some impressive height.
The cake is a little more complex and the ingredients are a little pricier than the average cake (especially because I always seem to accidentally buy twice as much chocolate as necessary because the original recipe calls for a ganache filling instead of raspberry), but it’s definitely worth it. Still, I currently only make it once a year for the annual February get-together for the birthday celebration of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
This year’s family get-together was especially fun with the addition of Jill, an old college friend of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and because my niece, Amelia, is now nearly 2 1/2 years old. We don’t get to see Amelia nearly often enough and each time we see her it’s like I’m looking at a whole new person! She grows and develops new skills so quickly and it’s so cool to see how much she has changed. Continue reading
The seared duck dinner we made for Valentine’s Day was a bit more involved than usual for a weeknight for us (especially after a full day at work and then going to the gym), so I wanted to make a pretty simple dessert. The good news is that there are a ton of recipes out there for indulgent, decadent chocolate cakes that are really easy to make.
I already had plans to make something along the lines of individual chocolate desserts of some kind and then when we were on the chocolate tour at the Taza chocolate factory, I snagged a card with a recipe for molten spiced chocolate cakes. It was perfect timing.
Want something a little more grown up for the Super Bowl than brownies? How about chocolate stout cake anyone? Now, this is for the more sophisticated crowd since it does kind of require a fork and plate. I know, we’re just getting highfalutin over here!
But it does seem pretty fitting for a football game, right? I mean, chocolate and beer! Now, I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about football, but I certainly think that beer and chocolate make any football game a heck of a lot more interesting.
The sour cream in the cake makes it delightfully moist and the cake isn’t too sweet. If you’re not a beer person, or even if you are but you’re not a stout person, don’t worry you’ll still be clamoring for more of this cake. The beer makes the chocolate flavor more intense and brings out a bit of nuttiness. Continue reading
Last Friday night the Aggies were playing their bowl game and my intention had been to make this cake because the Aggies colors are maroon and white. But between going to the gym, going to the grocery store, making dinner and then a wine and beer tasting at Spirited Gourmet, well, it just didn’t happen. Luckily I had made meringues for my sister who was in town because they’re her favorite. I mean, you just don’t want to get caught without any options for dessert now do you?
So it wasn’t until the next night that I made the cake. It’s not at all that the recipe is too complicated or anything — it’s quite easy actually — I just ran out of time Friday night. In fact, I almost forgot about the cake again the next night, so didn’t make it until around midnight. We had plans to meet up with my sister at a bar and I didn’t have time to prep and bake the cake before we’d have to leave. I prepped everything (all the way down to having the cranberries, sugar, spices, and zest in the buttered pan with some saran wrap on top) and then when we got back I whipped the rest together and threw it in the oven. It was so good warm that second and third helpings may have occurred. It wasn’t so bad the next day either. I can’t tell you what it would have been like by the third day because there wasn’t any left….
Ok, I know, I know, it’s been way too long since my last post. But believe me, this recipe should (somewhat) make up for it and it’s just in time for your holiday parties, dinners, etc.! I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart a few years ago and love to make it for guests. Love or hate Martha, you’ve got to agree that it’s an ingenious idea to invert a cupcake and pour some ganache over it. It takes it from average, everyday cupcake to a beautiful, elegant individual dessert. Ok, well, you don’t have to agree that it’s ingenious, but I sure think it’s pretty cool. And it makes it look so much more complicated than it actually is.
I first made these cakes on a fall night a few years ago when Joseph, my sister, Jessica, and her future husband, Adam, were all meeting up at my parents’ house to watch a Redskins game. I think it was an important game. I don’t remember, I wasn’t all that interested. I had decided that I would pass at least part of the time by baking something for dessert and I had gotten Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook recently and really wanted to try these. I asked my sister if it would be weird if I made a fancyish dessert when we were just watching the game (or at least some of us were) and having a simple dinner. She was thrilled and seemed to think the fancier the better. Her enthusiasm made more sense when she and Adam announced just before dessert that they were engaged! Continue reading
The way food disappears at my office, you’d think that we don’t ever get fed. We had a Thanksgiving feast for lunch on Monday, with the office providing all the turkey and sides and employees supplying the desserts. There was so much food that I was sure this time people would be full and that there would be enough leftover to bring a slice home for Joseph, but I was sorely mistaken. I came back from a meeting and all that was left was a plate of crumbs.
Which isn’t in and of itself a testament to the quality of the cake because I have seen Easter candy that looked at least a couple years old put out at Halloween that was gone by the end of the day. If you need to get rid of food, just put it on out the table in the kitchen and it will be gone before you know it. However, enough people asked me for the recipe for me to feel confident that this was in fact a hit. The creamy, tangy, sweet frosting alone is worth it. Believe me, that’s a spoon you’ll be licking when you’re done mixing it together!
When a coworker’s going away dinner became Mexican-themed (all because another coworker said she was bringing tequila and no one could argue with margaritas), I figured I should make a tres leches cake. I had never made one before and a few people mentioned that they had heard they were difficult to make, though they had never tried it themselves. Let me assure you, it wasn’t hard at all and that’s a very good thing because you’re going to want to try this.