Tag Archives: dessert

chocolate cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting

chocolate cake with white chocolate cream cheese

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.

Continue reading


perfect chocolate chip cookies from cook’s illustrated

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie from Cook's Illustrated

A few weeks ago my sister, Jessica, and I were talking on the phone when she asked me if I had any good chocolate chip cookie recipes. She was asking because she said she had tried several recipes and while they were good, they just didn’t really compare to the classic Nestle Toll House recipe. I can’t tell you how many times we made those cookies together as kids, but I’ve probably made them close to 100 times by now. The Toll House cookies and the apple pie I made every Thanksgiving were the most significant recipes of my childhood. But while I only made the apple pie once a year, the cookies we made whenever we wanted to bake, which was often.

brown and white sugar

As the younger sibling, I got stuck with the easy stuff: the dry ingredients. The wet ingredients always seemed so much more glamorous. Looking back, I’m not really sure what Jessica and I were doing, because those cookies seemed to take forever to make. I think we must have spent at least an hour making the dough, whereas I can now throw it together in about 10 minutes or less. So I really don’t understand what I was doing that took me so long, especially since my main task involved mixing flour, baking soda, and salt together. Perhaps it was because we were climbing on the counters trying to reach the ingredients and we had to stop to snack on the brown sugar and chocolate chips?

butter into browned butter

Continue reading


chocolate angel food cake

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


chocolate peanut butter macarons

Well, as I mentioned a couple days ago, I took an awesome class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts taught by Master Pastry Chef Delphine Gomes.  Macarons are clearly the hot new (well, not as new now…) thing, and I love them, but I just can’t afford to keep up the habit with the prices shops charge for them.  Besides, it’s much more fun and rewarding to make your own!

The problem was that the first recipe I tried was a little more complex and I probably should have read up a little more ahead of time to really figure out what I was doing.  I guess I thought since I could handle meringues, macarons wouldn’t be too much harder.  I was wrong.  Macarons are notoriously finicky, are fragile, and crack easily.  My first attempt, did not go so well…. Continue reading


cranberry, cherry, and clementine cream scones

Growing up, I was always very proud of my Irish heritage.  Every St. Patty’s day my mom would make her version of colcannon (basically mashed potatoes with shredded cabbage, bacon pieces, and grated cheddar) and currant scones.  The scones were always my favorite part.  As an adult, my celebration of St. Patty’s Day has changed considerably (hello, Guinness and Irish Coffee!), although I still always make  scones.

This year was my most uneventful St. Patty’s Day to date.  I had class that night and hadn’t been since my knee surgery and didn’t want to miss another class.  Not just that, but I haven’t been able to get in the kitchen and cook with my bum knee and didn’t want to ask Joseph to go out of his way to make an Irish meal for me when he has a lot going on himself (plus, he’s already been waiting on me hand and foot ever since the surgery). Continue reading


chocolate raspberry cake

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.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

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


moist individual spiced chocolate cakes

chocolate and cinnamon

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.

chocolate and cinnamon

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.

spices in spiced chocolate cake

Continue reading


chocolate stout cake

Chocolate Stout Cake

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!

butter, stout, cocoa

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.

mixing chocolate stout batter

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


chewy brownies

chewy chocolate

My sister specifically requested a recipe for a Super Bowl dessert and at first my mind drew a blank.  Thinking of main courses and appetizers are so easy (turkey burger, spicy sweet potato fries, turkey chili and corn bread, smokey chipotle salsa, guacamole, and chips are just a few), but desserts? Well, chocolate came to mind really quickly and the idea of brownies quickly followed.

chopped chocolate

Here’s my logic.  Chocolate goes with nearly everything, especially winter when everything’s cold and dismal.  Can you tell that I live in Boston and have had enough snow storms to last a lifetime?  Also, brownies are so easy to transport if you’re going to a party and they’re easy to handle.  Just grab one of a platter (or straight out of the pan), grab a napkin or plate to catch the crumbs (or let them fall freely), and you’re good to go.  No forks or knives to deal with! No need to look away from the TV. Just dig right in!

mixing chocolate batter and sugar

Continue reading


cranberry upside-down cake

cranberry upside-down cake

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….

orange zest

Continue reading