Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Want a quick and easy Chocolate Cake with great flavor? This is it. All the ingredients can actually be mixed together right in the pan and this single layer cake has a rich chocolate flavor with a moist and tender crumb. A nice snacking cake. The kids will love it with a glass of cold milk while the adults might prefer it with a hot cup of coffee.

What makes this Chocolate Cake unique is that it is a “mix-in-the-pan” type of cake. This refers to how all the ingredients are just mixed together, right in the cake pan. A little unusual which is probably why other names for this cake are a “Wacky” or a “Crazy” Cake. However, while in theory, I like the thought of no dirty dishes, I will say that practically speaking, I find it much easier to mix the ingredients together in a separate bowl, rather than in the pan. There are a couple of things about this recipe that is worth mentioning. First, it does not contain eggs. Second, this cake uses unsweetened (natural) cocoa powder (not Dutch processed) which has an intensely bitter flavor that makes it well suited for use in this chocolate cake. Third, we also add a little lemon juice (or vinegar) to the batter, which causes a reaction between the cocoa powder and the lemon juice giving the baked cake a distinctly red tinge. And lastly, while I have used melted butter, you could substitute with corn, canola, safflower, or even a vegetable oil.

The cake pan doesn’t need to be buttered if you are going to serve the cake directly from the pan. However, if you want to remove the cake from the pan, then butter and flour the pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment or wax paper. Once the cake has been baked and cooled, I like to frost it with Ganache. But this is not absolutely necessary. If you like you can just dust the top of the cake with a little-powdered sugar or cocoa powder and serve it on its own or with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. Now, Chocolate Ganache is simply a mixture of cream and chocolate. While you can make ganache by pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate, for this recipe you melt the chocolate right along with the cream. Then remove from heat and let the ganache cool until it is of pouring consistency.

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed), sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup (240 ml) warm water

1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream (35% butterfat)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.

In an ungreased 8 inch (20 cm) square cake pan, stir together the flour, sugar, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the melted butter, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. With a fork, mix all the ingredients together until well blended.

Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Frosting: Place the chopped chocolate, cream, and butter in a heatproof bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and melt until smooth. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature until it is of pouring consistency. Then pour the frosting over the cooled cake. Let stand until frosting has thickened.

Serves 8 – 10 people.

 

Thank you joyofbaking.com.

 

Black Cherry Muffins

Black Cherry Muffins

I enjoy their moist and almost bread-like texture, and how the only flavor competing with the black cherry is vanilla. This Black Cherry Muffin batter is different because oil is used instead of butter, and plain yogurt is used instead of milk. It is the oil and yogurt that make a muffin that is wonderfully moist and bread like. I love how quickly the batter for these muffins can be put together. Dry ingredients are mixed together in one bowl, wet ingredients in another. Mix the two together and you are done. When folding in the black cherries, especially if you are using frozen black cherries (do not thaw), have a light hand as you do not want the black cherries to crush and stain the batter black. You might want to try this recipe using blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or even chopped cranberries. And if you would like a citrus flavor, add a teaspoon of grated lemon or orange zest (rind) to the batter.

Now, the muffin tins need to be either lightly buttered (can spray with a non stick vegetable spray) or lined with paper liners. My preference is to use paper liners since it makes cleanup a snap and I also like how pretty they look. Make sure to fill each muffin cup full with batter as these muffins rise very little. When you pull these muffins from the oven their golden brown crust is delightfully crisp while inside they are moist and tender (almost bread-like) and bursting with black cherries. I think this is when they are at their best. But still, even though their crusts may soften once they are covered and stored, their moist texture and delicious flavor remain intact.

muffins
photo by: @glenda.basa

Ingredients:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt (full fat or low fat)

1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable, canola, safflower, or corn oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 – 1 1/2 cups (240-360 ml) canned black cherries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the lightly beaten egg, yogurt, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir in the black cherries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined and moistened. (The batter will be thick.)

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin just comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.

 

Thank you joyofbaking.com.

 

 

Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes are so lovely with their swirls of Confectioners (Buttercream) Frosting. Gone are the days when they were only served at children’s birthday parties dressed with a quick swipe of frosting and a sprinkling of colored sugar. Today’s cupcakes show up everywhere, from adult birthday parties to weddings and their decorations range from the very simple to stunning works of art. 


Cupcakes are usually baked in a 12 cup muffin pan that has been lined with fluted paper liners. The paper liners make the cupcakes look pretty, keep them moist, make them easy to release from the pan, and also make clean up a breeze. These delicious Vanilla Cupcakes start with a white cake batter. The batter is mixed using the ‘creaming’ method which produces a cupcake that is light and airy with a soft crumb. When making this cake batter have the butter, eggs, and milk at room temperature. In order to have a moist cupcake, it is important not to over bake them, as over baked cupcakes are dry and crumbly. So always check the cupcakes a few minutes before the stated baking time. Ideally when you first check them you want to see just a few moist crumbs clinging to the toothpick. That way you know that the cupcakes have just a few more minutes of baking time. Because if the first time you check the cupcakes the toothpick comes out clean, this could also mean that they have been over baked.

Once the cupcakes are baked and completely cooled, we will frost them with a sweet and buttery confectioners (buttercream) frosting made from butter and confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, with a little vanilla extract for flavoring. To dress them up even more, garnish with a sprinkling of colored sugar or your favourite gummy bears.

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

Confectioners (Buttercream) Frosting:

2 cups confectioner sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk or light cream

Assorted food colors (if desired)

Instructions:

Vanilla Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, flour, baking powder, and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 -20 minute sor just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always check a few minutes before the stated baking time. Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting. If you want to pipe the frosting, I like to use a large Wilton 1M star decorating tip. Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are made, but they can be covered and stored for a few days.

Confectioners (Buttercream) Frosting: In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed.

Makes about 12 cupcakes

 

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

These Fudgy Chocolate Brownies use a whooping three quarters of a pound (340 grams) of semisweet chocolate which makes an amazing brownie. They are rich and oh so chocolatey, yet their texture is quite light and chewy. I call them “Fudgy” Chocolate Brownies because their taste is almost like eating fudge. Although this recipe does not call for nuts, if you want a little crunch then fold in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts. Or another idea would be to add 1/2 cup of dark or white chocolate chips if you want even more chocolate flavor.

These brownies are baked in a moderate oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with lots of moist crumbs. The brownies will also be just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not over bake or the brownies will be too dry. Under baking is better than over baking with these brownies because we want these brownies to be nice and soft. I love how the top crust of the brownies will be dry and cracked, yet underneath they will be wonderfully soft and moist. The day the brownies are baked, the chocolate flavor will be quite sharp. I much prefer them after a day when the chocolate flavor has mellowed.

When choosing a semi-sweet chocolate, always pick one that you enjoy eating out-of-hand. A good quality chocolate has a lovely shiny finish (a sign that the chocolate was cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time) and a wonderful ‘snap’ when you break it into pieces. For these brownies I like to use a semi-sweet chocolate with a 55% cacao content. In a pinch, you could use 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips.

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Photo by: @glenda.basa

Ingredients:

340 grams semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (can also use 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips)

113 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 large eggs at room temperature

200 grams granulated white sugar

5 grams vanilla extract

95 grams all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray) an 8 inch square (20 cm) baking pan. Then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk (can use a hand mixer) the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract until frothy. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and then fold into the chocolate mixture until combined.

Pour into your pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with lots of moist crumbs and the brownies are just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. You will notice that the top of the brownies will be dry and slightly cracked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for a few hours so the brownies have time to become firm enough to cut. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These brownies can be frozen.

S’mores

S’mores

 

You don’t need a campfire to make a S’more, and you certainly don’t need to be a child to enjoy eating one. A Smore (or S’more) takes roasted marshmallows and pieces of chocolate and sandwiches them between two graham crackers.

Now eating a S’more can be messy business, which makes it perfect food for eating outside around a campfire. The graham crackers are going to be in crumb form and mixed with melted butter. Sound familiar? Yes, we are making a graham cracker crust and it is pressed into a baking pan and baked until golden and set. Then we top the baked crust with miniature marshmallows and chocolate chips (or chunks) and pop it back into the oven until the chocolate starts to melt and the marshmallows become all soft and golden. They are wonderfully soft and gooey and sweet with the flavors of graham crackers, chocolate, and caramelized marshmallows. I like to think of them as my homemade candy bar.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Topping:

1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips or chunks

2 cup miniature marshmallows

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan with aluminum foil.

Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are moistened. Press this mixture firmly onto the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven about10 minutes, or just until the crust begins to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Return to oven and bake for another10 minutes, or until the marshmallows are soft, lightly golden, and starting to meld together. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, lift the squares from the pan by holding the edges of the foil. With a long sharp knife, cut into squares. Can be stored at room temperature for several days.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Chocolate Chip Cookie is the most famous cookie. It was invented in 1930 by Ruth Wakefield, who was the owner of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. The story goes that one day she decided to add small chunks of a Nestle’s Semi-sweet Yellow Label Chocolate bar to her butter cookie dough. These ‘chocolate chip’ cookies were an instant hit with her customers and word of their popularity reached the Nestle Company.

This Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is very similar to the recipe on the back of the bag of Nestle Chocolate Chips. Made with unsalted butter and a combination of white and brown sugars, it produces a rich and chewy cookie with caramelized edges. Although flour, sugar (white and/or brown), butter or margarine, baking powder and/or baking soda, eggs, vanilla, and chocolate chips make up a chocolate chip cookie recipe, taste and texture do vary by recipe. You can also try baking it with different sizes and shapes.

 

chocochips

Instructions:

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated, adding the chocolate chips and nuts (if using) about half way through mixing. If you find the dough very soft, cover and refrigerate until firm (from 30 minutes to two hours).

For large cookies, use about a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop or with two spoons, drop about 2 tablespoons of dough (35 grams) onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake about 10 -14 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen – 3 inch round cookies.

Note: You can freeze this dough. Form the dough into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze and then place the balls of dough in a plastic bag, seal, and freeze. When baking, simply place the frozen balls of dough on a baking sheet and bake as directed – may have to increase baking time a few minutes.

Ingredients:

 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

A German Chocolate Cake is an impressive looking cake. Three layers of moist chocolate cake that are stacked, one on top of another, with a sweet and gooey caramel flavored frosting, laced with coconut and pecans, in between. This is not your typical layer cake that is covered entirely in frosting so you are left guessing what type of cake lies beneath. A German Chocolate Cake leaves its sides bare so you can see both the frosting and the beautiful chocolate cake.

 

 

Instructions:

German Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Lightly butter and flour (or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour spray), and line the bottoms of three – 8 x 2 inch deep (20 x 5 cm)round baking pans with parchment or wax paper.

In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, combine the coffee (or water) and buttermilk.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about three to five minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Then add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated.

Add the coffee/buttermilk mixture and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are mixed together.

Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 -35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. (I like to rotate the pans about halfway through baking to ensure even baking.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Butter or lightly spray with a non stick vegetable spray a wire rack before inverting the cakes onto the rack to prevent the cakes from sticking. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven, cool, and then chop fairly fine.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, and when the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove from heat (about 5 minutes). Stir in the chopped pecans, coconut, and vanilla extract. Let cool until spreadable (about 30-60 minutes).

To Assemble: Place one layer of cake (top facing down), on your serving plate, and cover with one third of the frosting. Place the second layer of cake, onto the first cake layer and frost with another one-third of the frosting. Then add the third cake layer and frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting (sides of cake are left bare). The finished cake can be stored at room temperature for a 2-3 days or it can be refrigerated.

Note: Peacans can be replaced with any nuts you prefer to use. I personally used walnuts in this recipe.

Ingredients:

German Chocolate Cake:

4 ounces (115 grams) semi sweet chocolate, chopped

2 1/4 cups (270 grams) cake flour

3/4 cup (70 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (240 ml) lukewarm coffee (or water)

1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk

1 1/4 cups (280 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 1/4 cups (450 grams) granulated white sugar

5 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

1 cup (240 ml) pecans

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (240 ml) evaporated milk(can also use light or heavy cream)

3 large (60 grams) egg yolks, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sweetened or unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Blueberry Cake

Blueberry Cake

 

Blueberry Cake may be rustic looking but the combination of a soft and fluffy white butter cake, fresh blueberries, and a crunchy cinnamon flavored streusel, are simply irresistible. Serve this cake warm from the oven or at room temperature.  And leftovers are great for breakfast, preferably cold from the fridge, when the streusel has turned hard and crunchy.

 

Ingredients:

Streusel Topping:

1/3 cup  all purpose flour

1/3 cup  granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup  cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Cake Batter:

1 cup  all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup  unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup  granulated white sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup  milk

2 cups  fresh blueberries

 

Blueberry Cake

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, an 8-inch square baking pan. Read more