In the Kitchen: Chocolate Cake with Cookie Butter Glaze

I can’t believe I never told you about this cake. I made it for a New Year’s Eve brunch-time viewing of Doctor Who with a couple friends. I took pictures. I partially wrote about it in my head. And then… well then the semester that took over my life happened. But the semester is now over (YAY!) and I’m on what will probably be an all-too-brief summer break.

So, the cake. I found it via Shannon, who got the recipe from The First Mess.

chocolate cake

This cake, it was delicious. Perfect for a small gathering. I used regular all-purpose and whole-wheat flours. After glazing (I used Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter in my glaze),  I topped mine with toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.

In the background, you can see the reality that is my kitchen. It’s small, too small for someone who bakes as often as I do (and recently made smaller by the addition of a hand-me-down stand mixer. I have gladly given up counter space for it, as it means I can make cupcakes and frostings without mixing my arm off using a handheld mixer). But that means it’s messy. All the mixing and prep work occurs in the small stretch of counter between my stove and the sink.

chocolate cake

Usually I try to take my pictures elsewhere in the apartment – like the table that doubles as a desk and craft area, but I wanted to share reality with these photos for some reason. The cake is simple, so it seemed like a good idea. Baking produces things that are delicious, but it’s definitely not tidy.

But you should try this cake, tiny kitchen or not.

In the Kitchen: Blueberry Sour Cream Cake

For my birthday cupcakes this year, Rachel made me the same delicious chocolate cupcakes that she made last year, ostensibly from the recipe that comes on the box of Hershey’s cocoa. After last years deliciousness, I tried to replicate them and they just were not the same, which I mentioned while shoving mouthfuls of chocolate goodness into my mouth this year. Rachel offered to send me the recipe with the family notes & I took her up on that.

Along with the chocolate cake/cupcakes recipe, there is one for Blueberry Sour Cream Cake, which I was convinced to make while in a baking mood and bring to knit night as the first of a two-part farewell to knitter Margaret (who is leaving us to move to Alaska).

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The blueberries are gorgeous right now and also delicious. The recipe calls for 1 quart (which is 2 pints if you’re buying somewhere that sells them in pints, like my local grocery store), though I found that with my version of the recipe I couldn’t fit them all into the cake. If you find yourself with an actual springform pan or even a larger cake pan than I had, you may be able to use them all. If not, they’ll be a tasty snack when the cake is all gone.

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This cake is kind of a three part recipe – there’s a shortbread like crust on the bottom (layer 1), all the blueberries (layer 2), and then the custard (layer 3). The whole thing goes in the oven at once, though – no prebaking the “crust” – so it’s really simple to make. This is not a super sweet cake, but it’s a delicious one, especially if you like blueberries.

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I made the recipe as written, but I hear that it doubles well. I should have doubled it, as it went fast at knit night, but as written it’s the perfect size for a small dinner party or family dinner.

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Blueberry Sour Cream Cake

“Crust” layer:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Blueberries: 1 quart (2 pints) fresh or frozen. (Just make sure there’s no extra ice on your frozen ones if you use them. Or just save this recipe for when it’s blueberry season.)

Custard layer:
2 cups (16oz) sour cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Make sure your oven rack is in the center of the oven & pre-heat to 350. Butter a 9 or 10 inch springform pan, be generous with the butter, folks, you do not want this to stick to the pan (note that I used a glass pyrex square pan, so this can be made if you don’t have springform. JUST DON’T SKIMP ON THE BUTTER.)

Mix together your crust ingredients until they’ll stick together – this mixture looks crumbly, but it does come together. Once you’ve got everything together, put into prepared pan. I patted mine down to be kind of a flat layer, but the original recipe didn’t say that.

Sprinkle the “crust” layer evenly with as many blueberries as you can fit in the pan without having the custard overflow.

Combine the custard ingredients & blend well. Don’t overmix – just enough to blend everything together. Pour over berries (I smoothed the top with a spatula). Bake for one hour or until the edges of the custard are lightly browned.

Let cool completely, then refrigerate overnight (or for a few hours, at least) before removing from springform pan. I served mine in the baking pan & it came out fine.

Enjoy!

This recipe originally came out of a magazine in the 70s, but the name and other info have been lost to time.

In the Kitchen: Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

In an attempt to get all my recipes and cooking talk in one place, I’ll be periodically re-posting recipes from my time writing on the Kitchen Mirror here. In some cases I may update pictures & proof-read, but for the most part it will just be a re-posting of what I had there. The posts are not in chronological order – I’m trying to post holiday appropriate recipes near the holidays they go with & fill in others around them.

Author note: I had originally planned to post some Valentine-y cupcakes today, but I’m still playing around with the recipe, so I’ll be posting them either on or after V-day. I thought this recipe would also be nice if you were making a Valentine’s day dessert, so I decided to put it up now. I also still remember this cake fondly even though I’ve not made it again (mostly because I never keep buttermilk in the house). I may have to remedy that soon.

Originally posted June 2, 2010.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Maybe it’s the addiction to cupcakes and sugar. Maybe it’s that I like feeding people. Maybe it’s that I find baking the easiest food to experiment with. Whatever it is, when Mindy & her husband were putting together a small bbq over the weekend, I was told that I was responsible for dessert.

So the first thing I did was hit up the bookmarks on my computer (as I’m still trying to work my way through them as I add more and more) and found that I had bookmarked two separate buttermilk cakes. In the end, I went with the Smitten Kitchen recipe for Raspberry Buttermilk Cake.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake Prep

The changes I made to the recipe were minor. I omitted the lemon zest & replaced the sugar dusting on top with a raw cane sugar.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

In the end, I came home with an empty plate and no cake left. It got great reviews after dinner, people were especially fond of the crunch that the sugar gave the top of the cake.

But at least I had leftover buttermilk, so I was able to make some delicious Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins to which I also added a dash of cinnamon & vanilla and filled with Trader Joe’s Golden Berry Blend (raisins, dried cranberries, blueberries, & I don’t know what else – deliciousness, though).

Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

Apple Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Vanilla Glaze.

At work yesterday we had an informal little bridal shower for one of my coworkers. I’ve become known as quite the baker around these parts (and, in fact, mockingly “yelled” at a coworker once for saying she’d just run to Sam’s and pick up a cake for something when I could make cupcakes). So I often find myself baking for our parties, events, and chili cookoffs.

The bride-to-be’s favorite cake was Black Forest, so I whipped up a batch of cupcakes for her.
Black Forest Cupcakes
(This recipe, just like the Bloody Valentine cupcakes, but this time I used pressurized whipped cream for the frosting. It was delicious, but didn’t hold up well. I’m guessing real whipped cream would work better, but I didn’t have the ability to make that at work or make it work for this situation).

Anyway, I also wanted to make something that was inspired by Fall. It’s my favorite season – the weather cools down just enough that I can comfortably leave my apartment, the trees change to all those lovely colors, the apples are in season locally (and the SweeTango apples return to the store), and Halloween is just around the corner. So when someone pinned this cake over on Pinterest (which I have a small obsession with now. Must pin EVERYTHING!), I copied her and pinned it, then decided to make it for the shower.

Apple Bundt Cake with Vanilla Brown Butter Glaze

Apple Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Vanilla Glaze.

I made the recipe pretty much as written, so I’m not going to copy it again here. What I did do was this:

  • I used SweeTango apple cider – I was at the grocery store picking up supplies and they had it and OH, it’s delicious straight up. I love a good apple cider.
  • I went with 2 Granny Smith Apples & 2 Pink Lady ones (the pink ladies were hanging out in my fridge begging to be eaten, so they went in the cake).
  • Instead of mace, I used cloves. Mostly because I had cloves & not mace. Since mace & nutmeg are from the same spice family, I increased the nutmeg to 1/2 tsp & only used 1/4 tsp of cloves.
  • I squeezed a whole lemon’s worth of juice into the shredded apples. Then I picked the seeds out because squeezing with the cut side up against my palm did not keep the seeds from falling into the mix. This is what happens when I don’t really read the whole recipe before getting started.
  •  In the glaze, I used 1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla + vanilla bean seeds.
  • My glaze was also quite light on the powdered sugar, purely out of necessity. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t going to have enough until I was gathering the glaze supplies & noticed I only had a cup of powdered sugar left. I just went with it.

I can’t tell you how excited I was when the cake came out of the pan PERFECTLY. Last time I used my bundt pan, the cake fell apart a little bit. Okay, a lot. It was still delicious, just not pretty. However the apple cake turned out pretty AND delicious. It was the perfect taste of fall.

Apple Bundt Cake with Vanilla Brown Butter Glaze

Now I just need to decide what I’m baking for the chili cookoff dessert table…