Posts tagged ‘Dessert’

November 6, 2011

Easiest Chocolate Cake


My internal dialogue was definitely discouraging, while making this cake. No egg, who bakes a cake without eggs – even brownies have eggs, this was certain to be a disaster. And now add lemon juice or vinegar! What was this going to taste like? And really!? I’m going to prepare this cake right in the baking pan! No mixing bowl? No creaming the butter, but melt it? Huh? Where am I!? What is going on? After all of that, the batter was thinner than pancake batter! We were surely headed for thin deflated cupcakes. Certainly, you are asking me why would I even consider this recipe after reading it? Well it comes from the Joy of Baking website, a place I trust and the photo was very enticing. New and different is what I like, new challenges!

Joy of Baking – Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup granulated white sugar

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

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon lemon juice(or vinegar)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.

In an ungreased 8 inch 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 35 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.

**NOTE: I made these into cupcakes rather than a cake. Fill the baking cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes – or until a toothpick comes out clean.**

In the end, this is a very good simple recipe. It’s a heavier, moist cake. Not a light cake. The best description was somewhere between a brownie and cake. I’m more amazed by how well this cake came out and that it doesn’t have any eggs! (can’t get over that!).




January 1, 2011


Ah, New Years Day! Another year begins and another fresh start. Seems this year is getting off to a great start for me – although it could just be that last year is ending on a good note. One day, I know, doesn’t make all the difference, but I think that it really gets everyone motivated – I hope you all keep your motivations! There will be lots of change this year for my daughter and I – all good of course. We will be moving and she will start Kindergarten. Last year was a bit bipolar with some terrible things happening in my family, but personally some really great things ending the last part of my year. So I hope for a better year with less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. I hope that all you reading and following my blog have terrific years as well, and I hope you continue following me here – and putting in your suggestions!

To start the year off with some inspiration I finally watched Julie and Julia (this I will add to my personal DVD collection). This is such a foodie movie! I can’t believe I waited so long to watch this movie. Everyone has suggested it to me and I don’t know why I didn’t watch it sooner. It’s probably that pre-Wii and Netflix I rarely paid $5 for a pay-per-view and I suck at returning Redbox movies. Either way I am glad I finally watched this movie, because I am more inspired now. I can relate to both of these ladies so much. There is a point in the movie when Julie received her first comment on her blog (granted it was from her mother) she was elated – I felt that same way when the first person (that I didn’t know) commented on my blog. Something interesting happened, right after watching the movie this morning, I received my FIRST pingback! I was SUPER excited – a little silly I know, it’s ONE pingback (link to one of my posts), but that is where it all starts. I have worked hard this past year on my blog and I have been published and now have a regular spot in the food column in the local paper. I must be doing something right! Now I am vowing to spend more time on my blog (one of the #1 blogger rules – blog often!) and more time on my other food writing goals – I am going to be fearless and step out of my comfort zone!

The other part of my new year inspiration came from Tyler Florence’s book Stirring the Pot. After reading it I have become very inspired to ORGANIZE my kitchen (If you know me, you know organization excites me and that I am a little obsessed with it). TF has some great ideas for organizing your kitchen and fridge/freezer by having dinners you can just pull out of the freezer for quick instant meals.  So as I journey through this year organizing, moving and beginning new chapters in my life I hope to share it all with you and hopefully we’ll suck in a few others along the way. So thank you for being a friend and following my blog. The brownie recipe below is the dessert that I finally mastered and my daughter and I rang in the new year with (along with Beef Bourguignon, which I will also be blogging).

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL! Welcome to 2011!


adaptation from

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup espresso powder (optional)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips/chunks
  • 2/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Line a 9×13 square baking pan with parchment paper overhanging two sides.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a pot of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pot and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a whisk. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with a little batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.


You can make many variations of brownies I have put caramel on them, white chocolate chunks, dark chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit. We topped these with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, while they were still warm …. MMMMM!

June 5, 2010

Berries and Ice Cream

Now you surely don’t need a recipe for this, but sometimes we all just need a “reminder” of those simple ideas…

Berries and Ice Cream

1 tub of your favorite vanilla ice cream (or any other flavor)
sliced strawberries
blackberries, halved
whole blueberries

A take on the classic berries and cream, ice cream takes the place of the cream to provide a cool summer treat.  We used blackberries and strawberries which are both really good at this time of year, and you can find them no problem at the Farmers Market. There is something about vanilla ice cream and berries that is SO good and satisfying this time of year, maybe the contrast of sweet, tart, and creamy flavors and textures. The bonus it is a no-cook, no-bake dessert with lots of health benefits from fresh raw berries, so you can feel good feeding yourself and your kids this summer treat.

I am a strong believer in involving kids in cooking and connecting them with what they eat. Kids are more likely to broaden what they eat and try new things if they are involved in the decisions and helping to make food. Berries and ice cream is a really easy way to get your children involved. You can make homemade ice cream with your kids and have them help pick out and prepare the berries.  My daughter and I go to the Farmers Market together each weekend.  We talk about what looks good, taste everything we can, and decide what we want to eat during the upcoming week.  On the day you make this dessert have the kids help wash and cut up the berries (use a butter knife for the little ones). Then make a “station” for toppings so everyone can make their own bowl. Serve some chocolate sauce and whipped cream too! Guaranteed happiness on their faces and in their bellies!

Assemble and eat!

March 24, 2010

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

I have been, and continue to, play with this recipe. But since so many of my co-workers raved about the bars I’ll post the recipe. I’d like to see a creamier texture to them.

Shortbread Crust
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt

Heat oven to 350°.
Cream the butter and sugar, then add flour and salt.
Cook the crust for 20 minutes until light brown.

Lemon Filling
4 eggs + 2 yolks
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. lemon juice
1/3 c. flour
6 T melted butter

Look there is a heart shining on the filling mix – that’s because it’s made with love! ha ha!

Wisk eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Then mix in flour and butter. When the shortbread comes out of the oven slowly pour the filling onto the crust.

Reduce the temperature to 300° and cook for 30minutes or until the filling is set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. (I am going to make meringue and top the bars with that – something I saw in Thomas Kellers new book).

Cover and chill. Store for 3 days.

December 6, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is the BEST cheesecake I have ever made. I combined both my own and Gram K’s recipe for plain cheesecake and then added the mixture of pumpkin and spices to it for a beautiful yummy moist cheesecake!

1 ½ c ground cookie crumbs (Vanilla wafers)
2T. brown sugar (or granulated)
5T. melted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

MIX all together and press into the bottom of a spring form pan or a deep pie dish. Bake @ 375 degrees for 7 minutes or so.

3- 8oz. pkgs cream cheese (softened)
3/4c granulated sugar
1T van illa
5 eggs
1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
1tsp lemon zest (optional)

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until combined. Add eggs one at a time and make sure incorporated. Beat in whipping cream and zest.

Pumpkin Mixture
15 oz can pumpkin puree
¼ t. ground ginger
1 ½ t ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground nutmeg
¼ t. ground cloves
1/8 c. sour cream

Whisk the pumpkin mixture together, then fold into cheesecake filling.

BAKE cheesecake at 300-degrees for 1 hour and 5 min (or until middle set).