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Desserts

Almond Poppy Seed Cake

Reposting because this is what I’m making today!

I used to buy these in the store, but they run about 6 dollars these days–on sale. I decided to look around and find some recipes. Most were too annoying. I didn’t want to use almond paste because I didn’t happen to have any. Long and short of it, here’s the loaf style recipe I came up with.

1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup margarine or butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Mix everything in a bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. Put in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. I let it sit in the oven after the 40 minutes for another 10 with the door closed.

Icing:

3/4 cup powered sugar, two tablepsoons of melted margarine and a drizzle of hot water (about 2 tablespoons) until you have the desired consistency. You can use lemon juice or orange juice instead of the water. You can add a 1/2 tsp of almond extract or vanilla extract too.

If you like zany, fictional adventures that involve food, mysteries and potential romance, you might like the novel:
Executive Lunch.
You will definitely want to check out:

eclair_maria_schneider_avatarOne Good Eclair

Posted: November 5, 2014
Filed in Desserts
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Apple Harvest Cake

2 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour OR 1 cup regular wheat flour and 1 1/4 cup refined white flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups chopped apples
1 cup nuts

Glaze

1/2 cup powered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 to 3 tsp milk

(Mix all glaze ingredients well. Sugar should be dissolved. You can use hot water instead of milk.)

Preheat oven to 325 and prepare bunt cake pan (12 cup). Blend everything but the apples. When well mixed, add one cup of apples at a time and blend again. Pour in cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool upright on rack and turn out on serving plate after 15 minutes. After cake has completely cooled, drizzle glaze on top. Add additional nuts for decoration.

If you like zany, fictional adventures that involve food, mysteries and potential romance, you might like the novel:
Executive Lunch.
You will definitely want to check out:

eclair_maria_schneider_avatarOne Good Eclair

Banana Nut Bread

Since we are talking food (we were talking food, right?) I thought I’d share my banana bread recipe. I do not like a lot of bananas in banana bread. I want them not seen and barely tasted, but I like the moisture that adding fruit brings. I use a single banana in this recipe (and I don’t measure it. I just put a banana in there).

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes in a loaf pan. Optional: Add chocolate chips to the recipe! Very good.

Posted: June 24, 2015
Filed in Desserts

Black Forest Cake with Raspberries/Blackberries

Cake image

I’ve had black forest cake that I like, but usually they are far too sweet. This recipe doesn’t have any liquor and uses raspberries instead of cherries.

6 eggs
scant 1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup flour (King Arthur flour works great in this recipe–it’s ground very fine)
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup margarine or unsalted butter

Filling/Topping

2 ½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp vanilla

1 to 1 ½ pounds of fresh blackberries or raspberries or mix of both

To decorate:
Grated chocolate (take a high quality milk chocolate bar–such as Lindt Milk Chocolate-and grate little frills. Sprinkle frills on the cake).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two round 9 inch cake pans. Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla and beat with electric mixer until very thick. Sift flour and cocoa and fold in lightly. Gently stir in melted butter. Divide the mixture between the two cake pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cakes are springy. Cool for five minutes and turn onto wire racks and cool completely.

Using a hand held mixer, whip the cream until it starts to thicken and then gradually beat in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until the cream holds it shape.

Assemble

Spread whipped cream on bottom layer of chocolate cake. Spread a thick row of berries across the cream. Add second cake layer and spread with sweetened cream. Spread the sides with cream as well. Lightly decorate the top of the cake with berries. Sprinkle the side of the cake with the grated chocolate. Add a few berries around the plate and you have a masterpiece!

Time Saving Note: You can make a boxed chocolate cake instead of making chocolate cake from scratch. Another good chocolate cake that can be used in this recipe is: Buttermilk Chocolate Cake. Simply make the cake in two pans instead of one, and substitute the whipped cream and raspberries for icing.

Note: For the more traditional Black Forest Cake, after they have cooled, prick the tops of the cakes with fork and drizzle with 1/8th cup of Kirsch. Use fresh pitted cherries instead of raspberries or blackberries.

Just for fun reading that includes recipes:
saving One Good Eclair

My favorite chocolate cookbook Seriously Bitter Sweet Chocolate

For more decadent recipes with chocolate, including tortes, magic chocolate mud pudding, chocolate brioche, and chocolate lemon tart, I recommend The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Chocolate. It’s a lovely hardback edition that includes 200 recipes, wonderful pictures and some history on chocolate.

Posted: March 2, 2015
Filed in Desserts, Recipes
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Blueberry Cake Breakfast

So I found this recipe and it looked good. Too bad I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. Well, that’s never stopped me before!

I was out of sour cream and ricotta. I rarely have cottage cheese. But I did have cream cheese! And yogurt is the same consistency as sour cream. So here’s what I made:

3 large eggs
heaping 1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup Bulgaria yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour
dash of salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups blueberries, frozen
cinnamon-sugar, for topping

The only problem was that after mixing it all up and pouring in the pie shell…it turned out I had no blueberries! No idea where the entire bag of frozen blueberries had gone. So it was off to the store where I stood in line longer than it took me to mix the entire cake! Back home, added blueberries and baked for 45 minutes.

One day, I will follow a recipe. But today was not that day!

If you are more into following recipes, the King Arthur All Purpose cook book has finally come out in “fliexibound” and is cheaper than the hardback version. I use their recipes a lot. Some great stuff, although, yes, I often change them up!!!

Posted: August 4, 2017
Filed in Desserts, Recipes
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Brownies

Brownies are difficult to make–some people like poofy ones, some like gooey ones. In Texas, there’s the additional problem of it being so freakin’ hot in the summer, you don’t want to run the oven! As a result, I created/coerced this recipe so that it can be made in a small brownie pan in the toaster oven. Use an 8 x 8 pan or in my case an 8 by about 9 inch glass pan.

If you are using a toaster oven, you *must* preheat the oven. The heat elements heat very quickly and tend to overshoot–so preheat to 350.

In microwave melt:
1 70 percent Lindt fine chocolate bar (3.5 oz)
1 stick of margarine (1/2 cup)

In mixing bowl mix:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar

When the sugar and eggs are well blended, add:

1 cup flour
(If you want fluffy brownies, add 1 tsp baking power to the flour before adding the flour. For gooey brownies, leave out the baking powder.)

Stir well. Add the melted chocolate and margarine and stir well. Add:

2 tablespoons buttermilk

Add pecans if desired.

Spread in the 8 x 8 pan. Cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Turn the down oven to about 325 and cook until the middle is firm about another 5 to 10 minutes depending on your oven.

Remove from oven and cool.

The key here is to keep the oven from reheating too many times–or you can end up with burned marks right where the toaster elements heat. I put the pan up as high away from them as possible.

If you like zany, fictional adventures that involve food, mysteries and potential romance, you might like the novel:
Executive Lunch.
You will definitely want to check out:

eclair_maria_schneider_avatarOne Good Eclair

Posted: June 30, 2007
Filed in Desserts
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Brownies – Lava Top

You all know I am ever in search of the perfect brownie. I study recipes. I try them, I tweak them. Ultimately, I keep looking. But now. Now, I have found one that at the very least is a keeper. It may, in fact, be The One. I’ve made this recipe about four times now. I’ve made the full recipe; I’ve cut it in half. The secret? The one thing that makes the brownies get that high gloss, that look on top as though the chocolate froze in time in a delicious lava-like flow?

It seems to be related to melting the butter and sugar before mixing into the other ingredients. I’ve melted the butter before and even melted the chocolate. But sugar gets hotter and stays hotter. In this case, it allows the chocolate chips to melt into a wonderful gooey substance.

I found the recipe here thanks to my sister-in-law, Kelly. I tried the recipe with and without chocolate chips. I decided I liked the recipe better with the chips in. In the end, I backed off the cocoa powder and I don’t put in espresso powder. I’ve used espresso powder before and sometimes it makes the dish taste like coffee, other times it adds a nice unidentifiable bottom richness (such as can be found in tiramisu). However by and large, I just don’t need those bottom notes where chocolate is concerned.

Here is the recipe cut in half for baking in a small toaster oven:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/8th cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter and sugar in pan or in the microwave—get hot enough to melt chocolate chips–some of the sugar will be dissolved in the butter, but it won’t be boiling. While the sugar heats, crack the 2 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, baking powder and vanilla till smooth. This is a little stickier than it sounds.

Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

Make sure your toaster oven is preheated to 350. Put the brownies in an 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 pan. Bake for about 12 minutes. During the last five minutes, you might want to turn the oven down to 325 depending on your heating elements! Cool and cut. They are very, very good brownies. Not gooey, but incredibly moist.

I highly recommend them.

I haven’t tried any of the products for sale at the King Arthur Flour site, but I was intrigued. They have great pictures and some other intriguing recipes.

Posted: May 7, 2009
Filed in Desserts

Carrot Cake

Cake image I made this old favorite of mine this week–but I forgot to buy pineapple. So I subbed in one pureed apple and some lemon juice. It’s STILL the best carrot cake I’ve ever had!

A very moist carrot cake with cream cheese icing; the best I have ever eaten! The original recipe came from a friend of mine, but of course it has been severely tweaked. He put raisins in his. Ugh. You can also use all granulated sugar or all brown sugar in this recipe. If you like coconut, you can double to a full cup. If you don’t like coconut, leave it out!

Ingredients:

3 beaten eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups white wheat flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained–I put it through the food processor again to avoid any large chucks as I have found the crushed isn’t always as crushed as I would like.

2 cups grated or shredded carrots
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. I grind half the nuts very fine and leave half in pea-sized chunks.
½ cup flaked coconut (optional)

Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk sugar and vanilla and mix well. Then stir in all the dry ingredients and mix. Stir in pineapple, carrots, nuts and coconut.

Pour into sprayed (no-stick spray) 9×13 oblong pan. Bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes. Do not over bake. Frost when completely cooked and refrigerate.

Cream Cheese Icing

I recommend that you cut this recipe in half, but I do that with a lot of frosting recipes. I have no idea where people use the icing from the full recipe because it makes so much!

½ cup butter or margarine softened
8 ounce package softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla

16 to 20 ounces of powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients, using about 16 ounces of sugar to start. Beat until creamy. Add more sugar to get the desired consistency. Spread on completely cooled cake.

Just for fun reading that includes recipes:
saving One Good Eclair

Chocolate

Let’s talk about Chocolate. I know you want to. Sure, it would be even better to EAT the stuff, but that’s essentially what we’ll be talking about anyway!

Have you noticed that grocery stores (including Wal-Mart) are starting to carry better chocolates? Instead of just low-end Hersey’s there’s the high-end Hersey bars. Even better, there’s Lindt chocolate and some very nice Ghiradeli bars. I didn’t like Ghirardelli all that much the first time I tried them years and years ago. I drank their cocoa because it was one of the few decent ones on the grocery shelves–easy to obtain. Several years ago the internet made it possible for me to order from anywhere and I’ve tried a number of cocoas:

Scharffen-Berger: This is a lovely cocoa, especially for cooking. Very rich, non-dutched, deep cocoa. My favorite recipe for this cocoa is: Chocolate Buttermilk cake with chocolate buttermilk icing. Be prepared to swoon.

Guittard – I believe they supply chocolate to See’s Candies, Inc. (My all-time favorite store candies). They also have some dynamite chocolate bars for baking or making your own chocolate. They have single region chocolates and mixed. Quite a selection to choose from. Single region chocolates have really unique notes. Many have what I describe as “fruity” notes–a blackcherry or an undefinable fruitiness that just…melts into your sense.

They also sell a wonderful dutched cocoa that is very similar to the more expensive French and quite well-known Valrhona cocoa. I have a cup of Guittard cocoa almost every morning.

What are your favorite chocolates? Where do you get your chocolate fix?

Me, I usually order the cocoa in bulk from www.Chocosphere.com. I enjoy the Ghirardelli bars from my local grocery story. The Citris Sunset has tiny bits of orange scattered throughout a luscious dark-chocolate; the Toffee Interlude is perfect for just a bit of crunch and when you want that extra sweetness; And their Twilight Delight is a wonderful 72 percent creamy chocolate bar with a hint of fruitiness that is all about chocolate’s deep base flavor. All of these bars are just dynamite. Expensive too. But really, really satisfy that chocolate craving.

I like the Lindt bars too, but they’ve gone up in price recently, so I don’t buy them nearly as often. Hersey’s has some new “fine” chocolates out as well, but I haven’t tried them.

Here’s my favorite chocolate recipe book:  Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate: Alice Medrich, Deborah Jones (Photographer)

Posted: July 1, 2008
Filed in Desserts

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Cake image

First published here on the blog in 2006, this is the cake I’m making today. It is very rich and buttery, a true chocolate lover’s chocolate. Splurge and buy a high-end cocoa for this recipe–I like Scharffen Berger Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Bulk, 4.4-Pound, but there are many good ones out there. (I buy the bulk but here’s a smaller size: Scharffen Berger Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Canister, 6-Ounce (Pack of 2)

In bowl sift:

2 cups flour (I use King Arthur Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour, but most people use all-purpose, regular flour!)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda

Over low heat, stir until butter is melted:

1 cup water
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 sticks butter (1 cup)

Stir into the flour mixture until smooth.

Add:

2 beaten eggs
½ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla

Beat with rotary beaters or mix until well-blended.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes in 9 by 13 inch baking pan.

Chocolate Icing

I have cut this recipe in half from the original because when making a “sheet” cake, I didn’t need anywhere near the amount of icing that the original ingredients produced.

Melt in pan until smooth:

1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons cocoa

Remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar to desired consistency. (About 8 ounces or so.)

You can icing the cake while hot, although I usually wait until it has cooled. Icing it while hot creates a top “gooey” layer. When icing after it is cooled, the cake is more like a regular cake. Either way, it is delicious and decadent!

Just for fun reading that includes recipes:
saving One Good Eclair

My favorite chocolate cookbook Seriously Bitter Sweet Chocolate

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