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

Dimply Plum Cake

Picture 143 copy

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.

Picture 149 copy

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.

Picture 157 copy

Flip Over Plum Cake – TWD

Picture 183 copy

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.

1 2 3

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.

Picture 190 copy

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.)

Picture 189 copy

TWD – Lots of Ways Banana Cake (sorta)

10-20-08 088 copy

When a recipe tells me that there’s ‘lots of ways’ to make one certain recipe… I’m totally on board. You see, I used to be afraid of making my own nips and tucks to recipes for the fear that whatever-it-was-to-be wouldn’t turn out. I never took any creative opportunities. I was a weenie.

Well, I’ve been baking for a while and making substitutions and changing things around don’t irk me as they used to. I welcome the creative opportunities!

1 2

*The natural light makes my heart smile*

So I can make this cake and choose to use buttermilk instead of coconut milk. I can choose to throw in the rum (hey, boozy = better). I can choose to use semi-ripe bananas (because that’s what I had, ha). I can choose to completely skip the coconut and dried fruit and throw in an ungodly amount of mini chocolate chips. I can choose to bake these up in 6 mini cakes and a sorry excuse for a bundt cake. I can choose to skip the frosting all together. But daydream about a silky ganache to top the next bundt I make out of this recipe.

And that I did. All of it. I’m a rebel 😉

This cake is really delicious!! Its super moist and tastes like your very own little slice of banana (and chocolate, in my case) heaven. I half expected the nutmeg to be a bit overpowering but I was surprised that it was merely an afterthought of each bite.

10-20-08 099 copy

I can only imagine what it would taste like with coconut rum, toasted coconut and dried pineapples (or even crushed fresh pineapple!), coconut rum glaze sprinkled with more toasted coconut. Oh my, I think I have inspiration for the next time I bake this cake. Oh yes, there will be a next time 🙂

A big thanks goes out to Kimberly of Only Creative Opportunities for choosing this recipe. I think she secretly knew that I loved banana cakes/breads. Head on over to her blog for the recipe!

10-20-08 089 copy

Up next week: Chewy Chunky Blondies. Oh these were a HIT!!

Extra Credit Ann Brettingen’s Swedish Apple Cake

10-20-08 729 copy

Hooooly geez, this is good.

Now I’m sliiiightly biased (because I friggin’ LOVE baked apples) but if you thought the Swedish Visiting Cake was good, check out this bad boy! It has all the goodies of the SVC with some small nips and tucks.

This mixes up quickly and bakes beautifully. Oh the aroma!! Trust me, it’s good!! Next time I’d add some cinnamon and almond extract just to play around with the flavors a bit.

I’m keeping this post short because I just realized that I never posted my SMS Pecan Shortbread post. Doh!!

1 2

Ann Brettingen’s Swedish Apple Cake
– makes 6 generous servings, 10 normal servings –

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 extra-large egg or 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (I used 2 large eggs)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 to 1 1/2 apples (I used 2 Granny Smith), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
Handful of sliced almonds (optional)
Sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Apple, quince or ginger jelly or preserves, for glazing the cake (optional, I used apricot)

Procedure:
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. (Ann says 345°F, which I did) Generously butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or a similar sized cast-iron skillet (used cast iron skillet).

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, and keep at hand (set aside).

3. Working in a mixing bowl with the whisk, beat the egg(s) and sugar together until thick and pale. Stir in the vanilla, if you’re using it, and then the melted butter. The mixture will be smooth and shiny. Stir in the dry ingredients and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the apples, making a spiral pattern. Leave some space between each slice, so the batter can puff up between the wedges – it looks much nicer with the puffs. Scatter sliced almonds on top, sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

4. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack.

5. If you want to glaze the cake, warm a few spoonfuls of jelly and a splash of water in a microwave oven (or a saucepan) until the jelly liquefies. Brush the jelly over the hot cake.

6. Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes, or wait until it reaches room temperature, before you cut it into wedges to serve.

Storing: Cooled and covered, the cake will keep overnight at room temperature, but it’s best served shortly after it’s baked.

10-20-08 756 copy

TWD – Swedish Visiting Cake

10-20-08 688 copy

I wish Swedes would visit me more often.

Because this cake is AWESOME! Honestly, it doesn’t get any simpler OR delicious. Or moist. Or fluffy. Or nutty. Or sweet. Or perfect. I love you Swedish Visiting Cake. You are the apple of my eye.

Speaking of Apples, there’s an apple version of this very cake. And WHOOOO loves baked apples? *shoots both hands straight up into the air* (Look for this recipe a liiiiittle later today. Gotta get it photographed.)

So guess who HAAAD (‘could’ was not an option) to make BOTH versions? *points to self* Do I get some sort of prize for going above-and-beyond the call of duty? Hmmm… how about an extra piece of cake? SOLD!!

10-20-08 674 copy

When I say easy, I mean it. The batter comes together in ten minutes, IF EVEN THAT! You melt some butter, stir some stuff together and dump it in a buttered cast iron skillet. Stick it in the oven and 25 minutes later, you have a glorious cake to serve to your favorite Swedes. Or before you share, run to the office kitchen and eat (read: wolf down) two pieces just to make sure you don’t feel deprived.

Not that I’d know anything about that. *Ahem*

This was gobbled up by my coworkers, my fiance’s coworkers, and yours truly 🙂

Thank you Nancy, for choosing this deliciously simply cake. I NEVER would have chosen to make this on my own. So, for that… I thank you! You have blessed me with a wicked easy go-to cake and you didn’t even know I needed one 😉

Head on over to Nancy’s blog, The Dogs Eat the Crumbs (which sounds all too much like MY puppy) for the recipe, some great humor, wonderful pictures and lots of helpful-ness. And JUUUUUUST in case you were in doubt about how awesome this cake is, you can check out the P&Q section (filled with mmmm’s and ahhhh’s) or check out the other TWD bakers.

10-20-08 690 copy

Up next week: Sweet Cream Biscuits on page 23. (Already made, just need to photograph. Man!! I’m on a ROLL! HA! Roll….. get it?)

TWD – Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

10-20-08 614 copy

Me and marble cakes have a love/hate relationship.

I love ’em. They hate me.

It seems that I’m either over-zealous when it comes to swirling the dough and then there’s no pretty swirly-ness, just… mess. Or I’m careful and I barely touch the dough when swirling…. the result? Just mess. *sigh* I will master you one day, marble cakes. mark. my. words. *insert dark ominous tones here*

1 2

I alternated the chocolate/mocha and vanilla/walnut doughs and then stabbed the knife in, gave it one swirl and left it alone. I must admit that this is the most definitive marbling I’ve ever achieved, so I am a bit proud of myself. Next time, I won’t alternate the doughs and swirl once and see what I come up with!

Either way, this was fun and exciting and it was liked extremely well by the fiance’s co-workers. It prompted two of them to say “I wish my wife/girlfriend baked like this.” That’s the male equivalent of a compliment just in case you were befuddled there for a second 🙂

3 4

A big thanks goes out to Erin of When in Doubt… Leave it at 350 for choosing this one! Not only was it a hit, it was fun!! Head on over to her blog for the recipe. Then click here for some tips and pointers. Then click here for other bakers who baked this as well 🙂

10-20-08 609 copy

Coming up next Tuesday: Swedish Visiting Cake on page 197