Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake

Have you ever had one of those days when you just NEED some chocolate to cure whatever ails you? Who am I kidding, of course you have. Or maybe I’m just projecting my issues on you…? Either way chocolate = answer to all questions.

After committing to a healthier lifestyle, chocolate is the one tiny thing that keeps me from being 100% committed. There is just something about it. It’s rich, melty amazingness just draws me in every.single.time. When I see a new, intriguing flavor of chocolate (Wasabi Dark Chocolate, anyone?) I just can’t help myself. I’m very serious about my chocolate! I get angry when it goes to waste (not all recipes work out, whomp) or when it doesn’t match my high hopes or when things just aren’t… chocolatey enough. I’m sure you understand, right?

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake

So upon seeing this recipe for chocolate velvet pound cake, I was a bit bummed to find that there aren’t mounds of melted chocolate in it. I was so sure that the chocolate flavor would be too muted for me to fully enjoy it. I’m also not a huge fan of pound cakes, so sadly the cards were mentally stacked against this one before I even got started. But I pressed on, thinking that I could just give it away to someone less picky crazy than me.

Thaaaaaaaaank goodness I pressed on with this. This pound cake was delightful!! That’ll teach me not to judge a book by it’s cover. Probably not. But it sounds good ;)This pound cake came together fairly quickly (it’s definitely no layer cake!) and the end result was smooth, velvetey, rich chocolatey deliciousness. But I couldn’t leave well enough alone and drizzled a bit of chocolate ganache on my slice (it didn’t need it, I just have issues.) If you’re a chocolate connoisseur like myself, do yourself a favor and try this.

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake
Yields about 6 cups of batter (enough for one 6-cup bundt pan or one 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon water, at room temperature
2 teaspoons espresso powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature*

* I used buttermilk powder and it still turned out great! My powder requires that you use water as a liquid in place of the buttermilk and add the powder with the dry ingredients. If you decide to go this route, please follow the directions on the container of your powdered buttermilk.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly spray your bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. If using a loaf pan, spray with non-stick cooking spray and fit it with parchment paper to extend up both long sides to the top of the pan (leaving an overhang for easy removal once cool). If your pans have a nasty habit of sticking, butter the pan and then lightly dust the pan with cocoa powder.

Cream the butter and sugar: Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium-high until light – almost white- in color, 4 to 5 minutes. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula.

Add the eggs: In the small bowl, stir together the water and espresso powder until smooth. Crack the eggs into the bowl and whisk to blend. With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time (I’m impatient so I eyeballed and probably ended up going a few tablespoons at a time), allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next. About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then continue adding the eggs. Scrape down the bowl again.

Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately: With the fine-mesh strainer, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the medium bowl and whisk to blend. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, beginning with one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; repeat, then finish with flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand if necessary. (I normally give the batter a few quick turns with a silicone spatula before calling it done.)

Bake the cake: Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. When cool, remove from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and serve.

Storing: The cake can be made several days ahead and kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap. Or double-wrap it, put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to 8 weeks.

Barely adapted from Sur La Table’s The Art & Soul of Baking

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake

Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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Let me clarify a point: when I say ‘crazytown’ I mean ‘holy cow, there is so much good stuff in this bread and my impatience doesn’t allow me to list it all.’ I DO NOT mean Crazytown the band that sang that maddeningly catchy song ‘Butterfly’ way back in the day.

But I won’t lie, I liked them. I thought Shifty was cute (for like a week HA!) I know every word to the entire song.

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I used to have problems. Don’t verify that with my hubby, he’ll tell you I still have problems. He calls it issues, I call it awesome!!

There is a whole lot of awesome going on in this bread: peanut butter banana bread studded with mini peanut butter cups, snickers, chocolate chips AND caramel. I added some whole wheat pastry flour, you know… to make it “healthy.” I told you, crazytown!!

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And I just couldn’t help myself, I never can leave well enough alone, I drizzled the top with melted bittersweet chocolate. Crazytown.

Come my lady, come come my lady. You’re my butterfly, sugar baby. Oh gosh…

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Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Yields one 8×4″ loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can also use canola)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz mini peanut butter cups (I used these)
8 mini snickers, chopped
2 oz milk chocolate chips
8 caramels, chopped

Note: I used an 8×4″ pan but you can use a standard 9×5″ you loaf will be slightly thinner and will bake faster, so keep an eye on it! Also, go nuts with the mix-ins: add toffee bits, different candy bars, nuts, toasted coconut, etc.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Generously grease your loaf pan  with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, set aside.

In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg, sugars and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure that everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy because of the bananas, that’s ok!

Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and, with a rubber spatula, fold everything together until just combined (the flour JUST disappears.)

Fold in your mini peanut butter cups, snickers and chocolate chips. Spread half of the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped caramels over the batter and give them a light press with your hand. Top with the rest of your batter and smooth the top with your spatula.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached (always check your baked goods early, every oven is different and there’s nothing worse than a rock-solid loaf).

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a plastic knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely, or don’t, just don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups

Boozy Spiced Dark Chocolate Cake

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I really don’t drink much alcohol.

There are a few drinks that I like (my latest obsession being Malibu Coconut Rum, pinapple juice and a slash of club soda, Hawaii in a glass!) but usually I can (and do) say no. Beer tastes like horse piss gross to me and I’m not big on shots of straight liquor (Tequila being the exception). I’ll be the one nursing the same drink in my hands for the entire night.

As I said, not a big drinker.

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But dang, do I LOVE baking with it!!! It’s Christmas and to me that means that I get to find ways to put Bourbon, Rum, Kahlua and Bailey’s in EVERYTHING!! Ok, maybe not everything (I’m very obviously being dramatic) but I do take a minute to wonder how I could sneak booze into every recipe.

Please tell me I’m not alone…

I blame this time of year.

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Boozy Spiced Dark Chocolate Cake
adapted from food and wine via How Sweet Eats
makes one 12-cup bundt cake

Ingredients:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper (trust me)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Kahlua (or any coffee liqueur)
1 cup buttermilk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Melt chopped chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments (I usually go for 3 intervals) stirring between each interval until melted and smooth; set aside to cool a bit while you prep your dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder (sifting it in if your cocoa is lumpy), baking soda, salt and spices and mix with a wire whisk until combined.

Once the melted chocolate has cooled a bit, whisk in oil, bth sugars, vanilla and heavy cream until smooth, then whisk in egg.

In a 2 cup measuring cup (or anything larger, but not smaller) combine water, Kahlua and buttermilk and give it a quick stir just to combine.

Add half of the flour/cocoa mixture to the melted chocolate mixture, alternating with half of the buttermilk mixture, mixing until just combined (so it’s: flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk).

Pour batter into your prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out almost clean.

Let cool, then dust with a light coating of powdered sugar or drizzle with glaze of your choice. Enjoy : )

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Dimply Plum Cake

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Today’s TWD post is supposed to be a delicious looking fig cake (head on over to Ursula of Cookie Rookie’s blog for the recipe).

I have figs. But I chose to save them for something else as you won’t find figs running rampant around here, so when I saw two packs of great looking mission figs, I nabbed them with a different project in mind. I’ll get to this cake eventually, but for right now please accept this equally delicious plum cake.

Serve it warm, loaded up with some vanilla ice cream or cinnamon-infused whipped cream for a wonderful Autumn dessert.

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Dimply Plum Cake
recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 plums (Italian prune plums, if you can find them), halved and pitted

Instructions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degress F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom, if you’re using it, together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. On medium speed, beat in the oil, orange zest and vanilla. The batter will look very light and smooth, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter – I usually make 4 rows of 4 plum halves each – jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes – during which time the plums’ juice will return to the fruit – then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

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Apple Nut Muffin Cake – TWD

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I need an extension cord.

You see, I live in Southern Texas were we don’t have Autumn. To prove my point: just a few days ago it was 96 degrees outside. But today, right now it is 66 degrees outside. SIXTY-SIX, people. I realize it’s only 9:30am. But one takes what one can get 🙂

But instead of typing up this post, sitting indian-style on my “back porch” being enveloped in the cool morning air, I am sitting on the couch. No extension cord. I am positive that this is to be remedied.

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Extension cord is going on the shopping list 🙂

This cake is a great choice for a Fall day (like today!!) so I couldn’t skip it. It is lightly sweet, filled with small bites of apple and perfectly spiced. The texture, for me, wasn’t that of a muffin but rather a soft, slightly dense cake… I guess that it what a muffin is supposed to be; but I’m not lucky enough to churn out muffins with this texuture.

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I halved the recipe, omitted the nuts, ramped up the cinnamon, added nutmeg, cloves and some ginger then baked it in an 8×4″ loaf pan and glazed with a simple icing (3/4 cup confectioners sugar + small splash of heavy cream + tiny bit of vanilla, real simple), sliced thick and enjoyed with a fork and a cup of tea. Today couldn’t get any better.

Unless, of course, I had that extension cord.

Thanks to Katrina of Baking and Boys for choosing this gem. Head on over to her blog for the recipe (or simply click here.)

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Happy Autumn (finally)!!!

Flip Over Plum Cake – TWD

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I have taken it upon myself to re-name this recipe to “the key to my mother’s heart.”

Plums are pretty much my mommy’s favorite fruit ever. She loves them all: sweet, sour, black, red, overripe, fresh, baked, dried, juiced… you name it.

So I jumped at the chance to invite her over when I was making these and as soon as I said the magic words (plum cake, duh) she came right over. She says she came for the company but I think she secretly came for the cake 😉 She walked in and could smell the plums mingling with the cake and cinnamon and she was eager to try some! Which is rare as my mom isn’t really one for a lot of sugary baked sweets.

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Lucky for her, I scaled back the recipe (I quartered it and it was perfect for 3 ramekins) which meant that it was in and out of the oven in no time. Topping it with some homemade vanilla ice cream (recipe coming soon, promise) guaranteed that this dessert wouldn’t last long.

And that held true. She inhaled it and loved every delicious, warm bite.

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That makes it a definite repeat in this house 🙂

A big thanks to Becky of Project Domestication for choosing this recipe, you made my mom very happy 🙂

Head on over to Becky’s blog for the recipe. (Or click here to go directly to it.)

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Banana Bread Pancakes

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When I was in high school, I was not your typical sleeps-til-noon teenager. Nope, not me. I spent every weekday morning getting out of bed at 5am to be able to get up, shower, beautify, collect my things and be out the door on time to catch the bus. So when the weekend came, sleeping in meant 8am.

Now, being an adult, I seem to have found my love for sleep. I usually wake up no earlier than 10am on my days off (unless certain circumstances arise) and sometimes I can even sleep until noon, depending on how late I stayed up baking the night before.

This newly found adoration for my comfy bed and warm blankie sadly interferes with the other love of my life: pancakes for breakfast.

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After staring at the clock in disbelief (and other various distractions), I’m usually ready to decide what to make for breakfast around noon. Then I get distracted some more and I either end up skipping breakfast all together or having pancakes at 1:30pm.

It’s National Pancake Day, don’t be like me: start your day off right, enjoy your pancakes for breakfast 🙂

These pancakes taste like you whipped up banana bread dough and accidentally spilled it in your skillet. It tastes exactly like banana bread; but with the whole wheat flour, small amounts of sugar and butter, you can feel good about piling 4 onto your plate. They are fluffy, thick and full of delicious flavor.

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Banana Bread Pancakes
adapted from How Sweet Eats

makes 4 pancakes

Ingredients:

2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, whisking until combined. In a meauring cup, measure out the milk and vanilla extract and give it a quick stir. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a rubber spatula. At this point, the mixture will still be dry. Add in mashed banana and mix thoroughly. Add melted butter and stir until batter is somewhat smooth.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, spritz with non-stick cooking spray and using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and cook until bubbles form on top and the pancake looks set around the edges – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with butter and syrup, or however you wish.

Note: If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use 1 cup of regular whole wheat + 1 cup of all purpose. Or 2 cups of all purpose.

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