Apple Pumpkin Cake

For me, September is the time to indulge in everything apple. But come October, I tend to be all about the pumpkin. This year, I decided to make the transition from apple- to pumpkin-centric baking just a bit smoother by using both in a single cake.

This recipe is incredibly easy to whip up, and it produces a cake that’s soft, moist, and full of my favorite fall flavors. You can use canned pumpkin without a problem, but because I happened to go pumpkin picking recently, I chose to cook and puree some fresh pumpkin for my batter.

I’m really excited to start experimenting with some new pumpkin recipes, both sweet and savory. But for now, I’ll most likely be focused on eating this cake for the better part of the week until it’s gone.


Apple Pumpkin Cake


1 and 1/4 cups AP flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin (fresh or canned)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Add the oil, apples, and pumpkins, and stir together until well-combined.
  4. Pour the apple-pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The cake should be soft and springy, so try not to overbake.
  6. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before cutting into it.

Looking to feed a larger crowd? Just double the recipe and use a 9×13 pan instead.
If you choose to use canned pumpkin for this recipe, make sure to buy regular, unsweetened pumpkin, as opposed to pumpkin pie filling.

Apple Walnut Coffee Cake a/k/a Apple Disaster Cake

Last week, I discovered why it can sometimes be a problem to bake in somebody else’s kitchen. I was visiting my mom and decided that in honor of September and the fact that she’s awesome, I’d make one of her favorite cakes.

I stumbled upon this recipe several years ago and have been making it every September since then. The cake itself is moist, sweet but not too sweet, and full of so many of the fall flavors I absolutely love. And as an added bonus, when made correctly, it looks absolutely beautiful, especially with the baked apple pieces and walnuts adorning the top.

But as you can see, my most recent version of this cake didn’t turn out quite as lovely. And here’s why: When you use somebody else’s kitchen, you don’t always stop to think about how to handle equipment that’s different than yours. And whereas I have a tube pan that can be easily lifted from the top, my mom’s tube pan is the type where you insert the top into the bottom as sort of a separate, unattached piece.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

No sooner had I assembled a gorgeous, layered version of this fabulous cake when I foolishly decided to grab the tube pan from the top and bring it over to the oven. By doing so, I immediately managed to dislodge the top from the bottom, causing cake batter to spill rapidly out of the bottom of the pan and all over my mom’s countertop.

As you can imagine, I was not happy. But my mom, who’s a much sport than I am about these things, had a great idea: Instead of throwing out the spilled batter (which, by the way, constituted at least half the cake), wasting all those ingredients, and starting over from scratch, why not scoop it up, throw it into a 9×13 pan, and bake it as a non-layered, less pretty apple coffee cake?

The stubborn part of me initially tried to protest. After all, I wanted my cake in its original form, and I wanted to serve it to my mom the way she was used to having it. But not only is my mom a much better sport than I am, she can also be far more practical. And after spending several minutes consoling me (you know, her adult daughter who’s a mama herself and who was basically bordering on crying over spilled batter) and assuring me that this less spectacular version of the cake would no doubt turn out equally delicious, I agreed to proceed with Operation Cake Salvage.

And so we scooped up the spilled batter, dumped everything into a rectangular cake pan, and hoped for the best. And sure enough, the cake tasted incredible—moist, sweet but not too sweet, and full of the fall flavors that make it a winner, even when disaster strikes. And although I still recommend baking it in a tube pan as the original recipe suggests, if you don’t have one, you could always do what I did and make a less pretty but equally yummy version.


Apple Walnut Coffee Cake
Original recipe from Smitten Kitchen

6 apples (the original recipe calls for McIntosh apples; I used Cortland and Gala this time around but have used McIntosh in the past)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube (or 9 x 13 baking) pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
2. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
3. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.



Strawberry Shortcake Crumble

I’m definitely known as the resident baker among my family members, friends, and coworkers. But when the weather heats up, baking tends to take a backseat to frozen treats and ice cream-related indulgences. And since it’s been super hot and humid these past bunch of days, I haven’t exactly been in the mood to spend more time than necessary near a warm oven. But this past Sunday I made an exception on the occasion of my mother’s birthday.

My mom is awesome. She’s everything you could ever ask for in a mother, and as busy as I am, she always seems to be busier—yet somehow she manages to do her job, cook, maintain a household, and take care of her often-needy adult children. (Yep, I’ll admit it. Even in my 30s, I still need my mother on a regular basis). So when I found out she’d be coming over to hang out with her grandson (’cause there’s really no better way to celebrate your birthday than to chase a 17-month-old around), I decided I had to whip up her favorite dessert: strawberry shortcake.

In the past, I’ve attempted grand versions of this dessert that have included multiple layers of cake, a rich strawberry filling, and lots and lots of whipped cream. But considering that the last strawberry shortcake I made could’ve fed a small army, I thought I’d try something simpler since we were a pretty small crowd. And let me tell you, I’m so glad I did, because this version of strawberry shortcake just might be my favorite yet.

You start with a buttery base, layer on some strawberry goodness, and throw a crumbly layer on top to finish it off. In fact, you could say this is more of a strawberry crumble than a strawberry shortcake, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I’m certainly not one to argue over semantics when we’re talking about something this good.

The original recipe suggests serving this warm, which I did. To make it a bit more decadent and complete, I topped my fresh-from-the-oven cake with some homemade whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. My mom absolutely loved it, as did everybody else at the table. In fact, we basically devoured close to the entire cake in a single sitting. Don’t judge us.


Strawberry Shortcake Crumble
Recipe from Serious Eats

For the strawberry filling:
1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the cake:
2 cups AP flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted this because my mom doesn’t like nutmeg, and we didn’t miss it)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla

For the topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar (the original recipe calls for light, and I used dark; either should work)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease an 8×12 baking pan (or 9×13 if you don’t have the 8×12 size). Pour sliced strawberries into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss with sugar. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl or using the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla until just incorporated.
4. Spread out the dough in the bottom of your baking pan.
5. Pour the strawberries and juice on top of the dough.
6. Cream together the butter, sugars and flour for the topping and sprinkle over the strawberries.
7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8. Serve warm, ideally with whipped cream and/or ice cream – though the cake is also fabulous on its own.

Chocolate Blackout Cake

As I mentioned in my previous post, this past weekend was my husband’s birthday, and I went a little crazy and decided to make him two cakes to celebrate the occasion. The first was a yummy tres leches cake, and the second was this insanely, intensely delicious chocolate blackout cake.

To give you the back story (it’s a quick one): Before my husband and I had our baby, we used to actually leave the house for dinner every so often. And when we did, we’d often hit up a local diner that served this awesome chocolate cake. My husband, who’s definitely not a big cake person, would order it and devour it every time. So since it was his birthday, and since it’s been well over a year since we’ve gone out and had that cake, I decided I would try to make something similar.

I started searching for a blackout cake recipe online and stumbled across this classic Brooklyn recipe from the famed and long-gone Ebinger’s bakery. Being a Brooklyn girl at heart (I grew up there), I just had to give it a go. And it’s a good thing I did, because I think this is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. The cake itself is rich and moist, and combined with the chocolate pudding filling, the end result is absolutely amazing. If you’re a chocolate-lover, you must try this cake. And when you do, having a tall glass of milk on hand and is practically a must.

The recipe itself isn’t complicated, but you do need to leave yourself enough time to allow the pudding to set up. I actually made the pudding the day before and left it in the fridge overnight; but if you start early enough, you can definitely pull off this cake in a single day. And if you’re like me and my husband, you can definitely take down half this cake in a single sitting. But you probably shouldn’t. No judgment either way.


Chocolate Blackout Cake
Original recipe can be found here


For the cake:
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pans
1 and 1/2 cups AP flour, plus extra for dusting pans
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate pudding/filling:
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half
1 cup whole milk
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla


For the cake:
1. Preheat your heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans, plus a mini loaf tin (you’ll want to have an extra “mini cake” on hand for the crumb topping).
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5. Take the mixture off the heat and whisk in your coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved.
6. Whisk in your eggs and vanilla, and then slowly whisk in the flour mixture.
7. Pour some batter into the mini loaf pan until it’s about half-full. Then divide the remaining batter evenly between your 8-inch pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely (at least one hour).

For the chocolate pudding/filling:
1. Whisk together your sugar, cornstarch, salt, half and half, and milk in a large saucepan.
2. Set the pan over medium heat. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until the chocolate melts and the mixture begins to bubble. (The original recipe said this would take 2 to 4 minutes, but I let mine go for about double that time. You want the mixture bubbling pretty consistently; otherwise your pudding may not set up.)
3. Stir in your vanilla and transfer the pudding to large bowl.
4. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to a full day. The plastic wrap is supposed to prevent a skin from forming. If you get one anyway, just scrape it off.

To assemble the cake:
1. Take the cake from the mini loaf pan and use your hands to crumble it into crumbs. Set aside.
2. Place the first cake layer on a platter and top with pudding. Sprinkle on crumbs.
3. Place the second cake layer on top of the filling and spread your remaining pudding evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Then sprinkle your remaining cake crumbs evenly over the top and sides of the cake, pressing lightly so that the crumbs stick.
4. Store the cake in the refrigerator. The recipe says it’ll keep for two days, but that depends on the speed at which you devour it. Again, no judgment either way.


Tres Leches Cake

It was my husband’s birthday this past weekend. And while I’m not really a birthday person, he usually enjoys a bit of extra attention when his birthday rolls around. So I did what any good wife who couldn’t find a babysitter would do: cooked up his favorite dinner and made not one, but two birthday cakes. Now since it’s just us plus a 16-month-old at home, that may seem a bit excessive. And it was. But it was also oh so delicious.

The first cake I made was a classic tres leches cake, partly because I know my husband likes it, and partly because his birthday is right before Cinco de Mayo, and, well, I thought it would be both cute and appropriate.

This cake is really easy to make if you have a stand mixer. If you don’t, it’ll take some effort to whip up your eggs and your cream. But it’s so worth it, because this cake is amazing. It’s fluffy, moist, and light—which actually makes it kind of dangerous if you lack self-control, which we all know I do. Even my husband couldn’t help but go back for seconds. And although I’m usually the world’s biggest hypocrite when it comes to letting my son eat sweets (as in, I can stuff my face with cake but he can’t have any), I decided to let him have some of this cake to celebrate the occasion. I tried to get a picture of him enjoying Daddy’s birthday cake, but my child is a vulture when it comes to food, and by the time I was able to bust out the camera, his cake was long gone.


Tres Leches Cake
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman


For the cake:
1 cup AP flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole milk

For the milk mixture:
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the frosting:
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar


For the cake:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Separate your eggs.
4. Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until the yolks turn pale yellow.
5. Stir in milk and vanilla.
6. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
7. Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
8. Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined.
9. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
10. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and let cool.

For the milk mixture:
1. Combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher.
2. Once your cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture over the cake (you can discard the rest, or get creative and save it for a future recipe). Try to get as much around the edges as you can. Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes.

For the frosting:
1. Whip the heavy cream and sugar until the mixture thickens.
2. Spread over the surface of the cake.


Chocolate Roll Cake, a/k/a Giant Yodel Cake

I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for processed, packaged baked goods. Sure, I’ve made my fair share of delicious cakes, pies, brownies, and more. But there’s just something about classic store-bought snack cakes that really takes me back to my childhood and makes me, on occasion, want to forego a baking session in favor of buying treats that are premade.

Growing up, one of my favorite packaged snack cakes was none other than the Yodel. But when I found myself craving one the other day, I discovered, much to my disappointment, that apparently they’re no longer in production. I was bummed, but not ready to give up. And I think you all know where this is going.

I decided to attempt my own version of Yodels, but in the form of a cake. Part of this was done out of laziness—I figured it would be easier to glaze a single cake than have to deal with glazing a bunch of smaller ones. But also, I thought it would be kind of cool to create a giant Yodel. And since I found a recipe for a chocolate roll cake online that seemed to be just what I was looking for, I decided to go for the cake.

Now before we go any further, I do have to tell you: This cake wasn’t so easy. In fact, the first version of this cake is sitting in my freezer in scraps until I figure out what to do with it. (Cake ball truffles, maybe?) The reason? I didn’t follow instructions and decided to roll it initially without using a kitchen towel. Why? I don’t know. The idea of rolling a cake in a kitchen towel seemed strange and unappealing. But it was a mistake not to do it, because when I tried it the second time around, it was much easier. So, lesson learned (though I suppose there are worse things than having extra chocolate cake lying around).

I’ll also say that even after having used the towel method, I still found this cake fairly tricky to re-roll once I added the filling. I was convinced that the darn thing was going to break on me, but somehow, it didn’t. And once I made it to the ganache stage, I knew I had a winner.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering: Did this cake end up tasting like a Yodel? It’s hard to say. I don’t think I’ve had a Yodel in well over a decade at least. But what I will say is that it turned out absolutely delicious. The chocolate cake was perfectly moist, the whipped cream filling was far tastier and fresher than I remember the classic filling being, and the chocolate ganache was utterly divine. In fact, I can say with relative confidence that my version wound up tasting far better than any mass-produced chocolate roll cake you’d find in a box…though if any of you out there know of a way to get your hands on some classic Yodels, I’d be super grateful if you could hook me up.


Chocolate Roll Cake, a/k/a Giant Yodel Cake
Recipe from Serious Eats


For the cake:
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hot water

For the whipped cream filling:
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (the original recipe called for only 1, but I wanted a bit more of a vanilla flavor)

For the ganache:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10×15 jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
2. Sift flour, cocoa, and baking powder into a small bowl; set aside.
3. Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15-second increments, stopping to stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Using a stand mixer, whip the sugar with the eggs and salt on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and thick (about 5 minutes).
5. Fold in the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Then, fold in the flour mixture and then water until just-combined.
6. Spread the batter into your prepared pan and bake the cake for 10-15 minutes, or until just-firm.
7. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes; then run a knife along the pan edge to loosen it.
8. Place a clean kitchen towel over the cake. Starting with the short end, carefully roll the cake up with the towel (with the parchment paper attached).
9. Let the cake cool until just-cooled (anywhere from 20-40 minutes should do the trick, but keep checking the cake – you don’t want to leave it for too long). While the cake is cooling, make the filling.
10. Using a stand mixer, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until the mixture can hold medium peaks. (Try not to keep sneaking little tastes of the whipped cream as you wait for the cake to cool…)
11. Once the cake is cool, gently unroll it, removing the towel but leaving the very end rolled to ensure a good grip.
12. Spread the cream over the exposed surface of cake.
13. Carefully re-roll cake into a log, removing the parchment paper as you go along.
14. Wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap to retain its log shape as you prepare the ganache.
15. In a heat-proof bowl, heat the chocolate with the cream, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. I used a microwave at 50% power to do this.
16. Chill the ganache until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
17. Remove the plastic wrap from the cake and place the cake on wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the ganache over the cake.
18. Using an off-set spatula, smooth the ganache over the sides and ends of the cake.
19. Place the cake in the fridge to allow the ganache to set for at least an hour. Store the cake in the fridge and serve within a day or two for optimal freshness.


Chocolate Guinness Cake

I’ve slowed down a little on the baking front lately, mostly because life and its various priorities have gotten in the way. But in honor of my brother-in-law’s birthday, which happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, I had to squeeze in a quick baking session to whip up a deliciously moist chocolate cake. I decided to try something I’ve wanted to do for awhile: Make a chocolate cake with stout. I chose to use Guinness since we already had some in the house, and I have to say, the cake turned out wonderful. It was incredibly rich and moist, and although you could taste a hint of the Guinness in it, it wasn’t overly strong.

I topped my cake off with a cream cheese frosting, but you could easily swap that for a simple chocolate glaze, confectioners sugar, or nothing at all. The best part? This cake took practically no time to make…or eat, which is a testament to how good it is.


Chocolate Guinness Cake
Cake recipe from A Whisk and a Spoon


For the cake:
1 and 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup granulated sugar
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 3 regular and 4 dark)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Guinness (or other stout of your choice)
1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon apple cider or white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:
1 stick of butter at room temperate
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment and lightly spray the parchment.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In a measuring cup, mix together your stout, coffee, water, vanilla and vinegar. Stir gently into the flour mixture.
4. Add oil and stir gently until you have a smooth batter.
5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let the cake cool on a rack before peeling off the parchment paper. Top with frosting, glaze, or confectioners sugar. Or, just let this fudgy masterpiece stand on its own.

For the frosting:
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth (about 3 minutes at medium speed).
2. Add the vanilla and then the confectioners sugar; mix on low-medium speed until well-combined. Depending on how thick you want your frosting, you may want to add extra confectioners sugar by the tablespoon to reach your desired consistency.


Almost-Fudge Gateau

I’m definitely much more of a vanilla person than a chocolate person. Take me to a bakery, and I’ll almost always order a vanilla cake or something vanilla-based. And when it comes to ice cream, I’m a vanilla girl all the way. But sometimes, depending on my mood, my hormones (yeah, I went there), or the season, I find myself suddenly craving chocolate. And when I do, it’s gotta be a rich, dense, full-on chocolate assault. So when my latest chocolate urge crept up on me out of nowhere, I decided it was time to try a recipe I had bookmarked some time ago.

A lot of food bloggers have tried this fudge cake recipe and raved about it. It’s from the famous Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook by Dorie Greenspan, which I actually don’t have but need to get my hands on.

The great thing about this cake is that it’s not super complicated but incredibly decadent. The “almost-fudge” description is pretty accurate, only whereas classic fudge can take sweetness to an insane level, this cake strikes the perfect balance of intense chocolate flavor without that cloying sweetness factor. If you’re craving chocolate, this cake will definitely hit the spot. And if you have guests coming over, you’ll be sure to impress them by whipping it up. I ate a giant piece with a touch of whipped cream and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side—because even when I need my chocolate, I’m still a vanilla girl at heart.


Almost-Fudge Gateau

Recipe can also be found here


For the cake:
5 large eggs
9 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup of granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
1/3 cup AP flour
Pinch of salt

For the glaze:
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup


For the cake:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour, and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
2. Separate the eggs.
3. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter, and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that’s okay. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
4. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the egg yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
5. Working with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer (or, if you don’t have one, a hand mixer will have to do), beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm, glossy peaks.
6. Use a spatula to stir about a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the batter; then gently fold in the rest.
7. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and gently jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even it out.
8. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it may rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked); a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate.
9. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
10. Run a knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. Warning: The cake may sink a bit as it cools. Don’t worry if it does.

For the glaze:
1. Place your chocolate in a small heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water or in your microwave. The chocolate should be just-melted and not too hot.
2. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
3. Stir in the corn syrup and let the glaze sit for a few minutes.
4. Gently place the cake on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, or on a wire rack with wax paper underneath. This will prevent excess glaze from getting all over your kitchen counter or work surface.
5. Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top. It’s easiest to do this using a long metal icing spatula.
6. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you’re impatient, you can stick the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. I let mine set for a couple of hours on the counter, and it was perfect.



Vanilla Coconut Cake


I did a whole lot of baking this past weekend—so much so that I’m only first getting around to posting some photos and recipes now. I made this cake for a family get-together and it turned out delicious. I used one of my favorite vanilla cake recipes and then added a yummy coconut frosting and filling. The frosting was pretty sweet (as frosting tends to be) but the filling wasn’t; and the classic but simple vanilla cake was a nice contrast.

As far as layer cakes go, this one was very easy to whip up. The vanilla cake itself can be thrown together in no time, and then it’s just a matter of letting it cool before assembling—and you can work on the filling and frosting in the meantime.

I recommend serving this cake the same day you make it, if possible. It’ll still be good the day after, and probably even the day after that, but it’s wonderfully moist and fresh the day it actually comes out of the oven.


Vanilla Coconut Cake
Recipe pieced together from here and here


For the vanilla cake:
1 and 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk (I used half skim and half whole)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coconut filling:
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp coconut milk
2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but I found that the extra coconut helped thicken up the filling for a more substantial layer)

For the chocolate-coconut frosting:
1 stick of butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups confectioners sugar
5 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut for garnish


For the vanilla cakes:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans; set aside.
2. Combine the flours and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Be careful not to overbeat.
6. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl to make sure the ingredients are well-blended.
7. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (I have a convection oven, and my cakes were done at about the 32-minute mark).
8. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 15 minutes; then invert them onto a wire rack and let them cool completely before assembling the cake.

For the coconut filling:
1. Beat together the sugar, sour cream, coconut milk, and shredded coconut until the mixture is smooth and well-blended; store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the cake.

For the chocolate-coconut frosting:
1. Using either a saucepan over low heat or your microwave at half-power, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate until the mixture is smooth. Cool for 10-15 minutes, or until mixture is at room temperature.
2. Transfer the mixture to a larger bowl and blend in the cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat until the frosting is smooth and slightly fluffy. You can add additional confectioners sugar by the tablespoon if you want or need to thicken the frosting.

To assemble:
1. Place one of the vanilla cakes onto a serving plate. Use a knife to level off the top to make it flat, if needed.
2. Spread coconut filling on top of the first cake layer.
3. Check your second cake to make sure the top is relatively flat. If not, use a knife to carefully flatten. Gently place the second cake layer on top of the coconut filling.
4. Use a spatula to cover the top and sides of the cake with frosting.
5. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top of the cake to garnish.

I recommend storing this cake at room temperature the day you make it to keep it nice and moist. However, I’d transfer it to the fridge if it doesn’t all get eaten that same day. Plan ahead when digging into the leftovers—you’ll want about 30-60 minutes to bring the cake back to room temperature after it comes out of the fridge, though my husband ate it cold and liked it just as much as he did the first day.


Brown Velvet Cheesecake Cake

Normally I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. And in all the years my husband and I have been together, I don’t think we’ve ever set foot in a restaurant on V-Day. (What can I say? We’re just not into spending extra money and being forced to order off a pre-fixed menu for no good reason.) But we do have a tradition of enjoying a nice home-cooked meal at the dining room table by candlelight on Valentine’s Day (as opposed to eating on the couch in front of the TV, which we’re definitely guilty of doing more often than we’d like to admit).

This year, I decided to make one of my husband’s favorite pasta dishes and go all out on dessert. My husband can be very picky when it comes to sweets, so I knew that if I wanted to wow him, it was going to have to be something special. Unfortunately, my hectic schedule during the week (you know, kid, job, laundry, the usual) didn’t really afford me the opportunity to spend that extra time slaving over the stove. So we decided to postpone Valentine’s Day until the weekend, which gave me the time I needed to prepare everything the way I wanted.

So about that dessert: I decided to make a brown velvet cheesecake cake. It’s basically your classic red velvet cake sans food coloring with a cheesecake layer in between, covered in cream cheese frosting. I figured it was appropriate for Valentine’s Day, but most importantly, that my husband would really enjoy it.

Why did I skip the red? For some people, that rich red color is what makes the cake special. For me, the red looks unnatural and is actually kind of a turnoff. So I decided to forego the food coloring and let the cocoa cake actually look like cocoa. And I’m glad I did, because my husband claims that the cake tasted better specifically because of that. I’m sure he’s just saying that to be nice, but I’ll take it.


Brown Velvet Cheesecake Cake
From RecipeGirl


For the cheesecake:
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the brown velvet cake:
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 and 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

For the cream cheese frosting:
2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For topping:
A bar of chunk of chocolate to make shavings or curls, optional


For the cheesecake layer:
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and boil a kettle of water. You’ll need this for a water bath.
2. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan, sealing it tightly so that water can’t get in.
3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese until it’s nice and smooth.
4. Add in sugar and salt and mix for about two minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Add your eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition.
6. Mix in sour cream, whipping cream, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into a larger pan (I used a roasting pan) in the pre-heated oven. Pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan so that there’s about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
8. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes until it’s set to the touch and doesn’t jiggle.
9. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Once cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours. (I made my cheesecake the day before I made the cake and left it in the fridge overnight. I then stuck it in the freezer for about an hour the next morning.)

For the cake layers:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees . Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until blended (about one minute). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then beat the mixture on high for two minutes.
4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then run a knife around the edge of the pans and invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:
1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy.

To assemble the cake:
2. Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter.
3. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment.
4. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer is larger, which it may be, place it on a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior to get it to be the same size as your cake layers. (Have a small dish on hand to collect the excess cheesecake—it makes a nice interim snack, trust me.)
5. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Then place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
6. Apply a layer of frosting to the top and sides of the cake, and then place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes for the frosting to set.
7. After 30 minutes, remove the cake from the fridge and apply a second layer of frosting. Top with chocolate shavings or curls if desired (I topped my cake with milk chocolate; white chocolate also works well).
8. Store the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.