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

Rum, Brown Butter and Pecan Brownies

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If you haven’t been here long, you probably don’t know that I’m a Texan. If you have been here for a while, you’re probably tired of me making references to the fact that I’m a Texan. Not the kind that wears cowboy boots with skirts and rides to work on a horse named sugar, but a Texan no less.

I can’t help it, I’m a Texan. It’s a pride unlike any other.

You won’t find better Tex-mex anywhere, steaks seem just a bit bigger, beautiful bluebonnets transform regular hills into waves of blue, seeing cows from the side of the road is perfectly normal, margaritas are a staple, BBQ is an art form, the night sky isn’t more beautiful anywhere else, and pecans run rampant across this great state.

Texas, I made you brownies. Brownies you wouldn’t mind calling home. They have rum and pecans in them, you’d be proud!

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Do yourself a favor: if you hate rum or aren’t crazy about the strong flavor of rum in your baked goods, don’t make these. There’s a half cup of rum in these, they are not for sissies. If you don’t like pecans, you can sub for any other nut just be sure to toast them or the flavor will get lost. If you don’t like browned butter, you’re in the wrong place 😉 BUT, you can just as easily use regular melted butter in place of browned. If you don’t like chocolate… we can’t be friends anymore*. If you want to smother these brownies in vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and a drizzle of dark rum for good measure… I think we can be the best of friends.

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Rum, Brown Butter and Pecan Brownies
yields 12-16 brownies

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter, cut into 16 small pieces
175g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
190g (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
75g (about 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/4 pecans, toasted and chopped

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8×8″ pan with foil or parchment paper, taking care to leave an overhang on at least two sides for easy removal later. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, swirling the pan occasionally until all the butter has melted. After several minutes, the butter will begin to bubble and this is your sign to really pay attention to your butter. The milk solids will separate: stir it frequently at this point, so that the milk solids do not settle at the bottom of the pan and burn (there is no saving burned butter, trust me). Continue stirring as your butter changes from a light brown to a medium brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat. Let it cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, toss in your chopped chocolate and pour the browned butter over it (swirl the bowl a bit to make sure all the chocolate pieces are submerged in butter). Let it sit for about 3 minutes. Using a whisk, mix the chocolate and butter together vigorously until it is satiny and combined. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. When both eggs are in, give it a good vigorous whisking for about 10 seconds. Add the rum and mix well.

Sift the cocoa powder, flour and salt together over your chocolate mixture. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula until almost combined and then toss in pecans and fold until combined. Pour batter into your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 mins, begin checking early to ensure your brownies don’t overbake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan until room temperature. Remove the brownies from the pan using the overhang, cut and enjoy!

Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

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Some of my favorite things.

I know you probably came here for something to put you into a deep sugar coma.

Candy, stuffed in a cookie, deep fried and dipped in chocolate. Or something along those lines, right?

Well, I don’t have a recipe for you today.

I DO, however, have something ridiculously sweet to share with you!!

As I was perusing Etsy (as I do all too often!) I chanced upon an adorable shirt shop: Dressing On The Side.

I stayed and ogled her shirts for an embarrassing amount of time, looking at each shirt and proclaiming “Ooooh I want that one too!!” after each viewed shirt. And if I had an endless supply of moneys, I guarantee you I would own each shirt. Even a dude shirt or two. Let’s be honest here people, dude shirts are just more comfy simply because they’re dude shirts.

But let’s get down to brass tacks…

I want this. Now.

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Holla!!

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Let’s make whoopie. pies.

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Dude shirt + bear + tower of cupcakes = win!

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See what I mean? Too cool for school. Ahem, I’m a Large. In case you were wondering ;P

I don’t want to take up any more of your time. Head on over to Dots shop and peek at her tees.

And because she is super awesome, she has offered a 20% discount to all Whimsical Cupcake readers. THAT MEANS YOU!!

Add your shirts to you cart, click on “apply shop coupon code” and type in whimsicalcupcake to get your 20% discount. Ta-da!! Enjoy your awesome shirts!!

❤ J.

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

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I hate doing the same things over and over again.

Repeating myself because you didn’t listen to me the first time I said that awesome thing I said. Getting up after just having sat down because I forgot my water on the counter. Painting my nails AGAIN because I always seem to paint them when I am the most antsy I could ever possibly be. Laundry. Hearing the same commercial on three different radio stations, play some tunes man!

But, there are exceptions.

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Playing my song obsession of the moment twice in a row. Or three times, who’s counting? Finding an adorable outfit and wearing it twice in the same week. Rewinding a part in a movie that made you laugh so hard you almost peed just so you can almost pee again! Playing that level of Angry Birds until you get all three stars.

And most importantly, making a recipe that you just LOVE over and over again. And in my kitchen, that’s a pretty big deal. Recipes rarely get a repeat performance. So many recipes, so little time.

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But once in a while I make something delicious that I can’t stop thinking about. Like these bars.

Soft and chewy oatmeal bars with a great hit of banana flavor, speckled with chocolate chips, baked and served warm. Don’t let the oatmeal fool you, these are breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, if you ask me! Customize them to your liking: add peanut butter cups/chips, toss in some nuts, top with ice cream, whatever you like!

Make these and eat them. Then make them again. Then eat them again. Again. What a lovely vicious cycle.

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Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Yield about 12-16 servings

Ingredients:

1 very ripe banana (mine was 115 g)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8″ glass baking dish with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add the oil and brown sugar. With a whisk, mix well until there are no sugar lumps left.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats until combined. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Pat batter down evenly into the prepared pan with the rubber spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden and the center looks set. Let cool before cutting into squares. Or throw caution to the wind and eat them warm straight from the pan. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Eat, Live Run

Skillet Brownies

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It’s gloomy here today. I’m talking pitch black at 9am kind of gloomy, rain all day kind of gloomy, flash flooding kind of gloomy, tornado watch kind of gloomy. And I’m ok with that.

You see, I’m one of those people that live in Happy Shiny Fun Land and things are always rainbows and butterflies and nothing goes seriously wrong. Chances are we are not going to get washed away in a flood. We’re probably not going to get swept up by a tornado and crash land in Oz either. Although I wouldn’t mind.

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But it’s that kind of day today. Upon waking, I exclaimed that I’m never getting out of bed (aloud, to myself because I’m weird and it made me feel more validated) but then my bladder quickly reminded me why that was not to be. Sadness.

So, I begrudgingly slumped out of bed and began my day. But I quickly realized that all was not lost. Oh, no. I had a tiny skillet and I knew just how to use it. And then there were brownies. Which I teased you with on Instagram.

These are as close to perfection as you can get: fudgy, chocolatey, quick and since they are baked in a cast iron skillet, everyone gets a SLICE of brownie (which includes the gooey center and the crusty edge all in one piece. WIN!!) No trying to shove foil in all the right places in your square pan and accidentally poking your finger through the foil and cutting yourself (true story, folks!). Just you and your pan, the way it was meant to be.

So if your day is washed away like mine, or if you actually live in Happy Shiny Fun Land, make these. Make them now.

And share with someone you love, it’ll make your heart feel all warm and mushy.

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Skillet Brownies
Yields one 10″ skillet of brownies (8-10 servings)

NOTE: I halved the recipe and baked in a 6-inch skillet for 28 minutes and it was divine. Top with some ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry. And sprinkles, if you’re fancy.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the sugar and eggs together until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.

In an oven-proof skillet (I used cast iron, you can use coated enamel, stainless steel, whatever you have that’s oven-proof) over medium heat, add the butter and cream until it begins to lightly simmer and the butter completely melts. Reduce heat to low and stir in the chocolate for one minute. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes and stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture looks satiny and smooth. Let sit another 5 minutes to cool.

Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into sugar mixture, whisking the entire time until completely blended. Gently fold in the flour with a rubber spatula and stop mixing once the flour just disappears.

Pour batter back into skillet, and using a rubber spatula scrape down sides if needed and smooth the top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Slice and serve warm from the skillet. Or go family style and hand everyone a spoon and dig in. Enjoy!

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Recipe from Pass the Sushi

Funfetti Cupcakes for Two

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My sister gave up chocolate for lent. I’ll give you a moment to digest that information and react accordingly.

Who gives up chocolate for lent?! Crazy people. Unless you gave up chocolate for lent, I like you.

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If I’m being honest, I already find it tough not to bake with chocolate. I find ways to sneak it into almost everything. Maybe it’s excessive?

All that aside, I did have to put my thinking cap on. Good thing Caroline came to the rescue with these. I saw them today and made them today. And I’m glad I did.

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This recipe only make two cupcakes with just enough frosting. They are soft and fluffy, aromatic and full of sprinkley goodness! These are perfect when there are only two people around to eat them.

Or when your sister is a piggy (;P) and eats them both in less than 5 minutes flat without offering you a single bite. I’m not bitter or anything.

Both, almost all gone!

Funfetti Cupcakes for Two
Yields 2 cupcakes + frosting

FOR THE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sprinkles (I used non-pareils)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with two liners (in the middle for even baking).

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and sugar until thoroughly combined.
Add in the flour and baking powder and whisk gently until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add in the sprinkles and using a rubber spatula, gently fold them in. Don’t over stir!! If you stir too much the dye from the sprinkles will bleed and you’ll have tie dye cupcakes instead of funfetti.

Pour batter into your prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

In a medium bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until a frosting forms. If you like a thinner frosting, add a bit more milk until you reach your desired consistency. Frost your cooled cupcakes, toss on some more sprinkles (because they make everything better, duh) and enjoy!

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Cupcakes adapted from Chocolate & Carrots; frosting adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

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As I’m sure I’ve said a billion and one times, I’m from Houston. And here in Houston, there really isn’t such a thing as Autumn. In my opinion, 80-something degree weather isn’t reminiscent of Fall.

But this isn’t me complaining (…yet, give me a few more weeks) but rather relishing in these last few weeks of warm weather.

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The last few weeks of shimmering, golden sunlight gently falling on your sleepy face, peeking through that tiny slit in your curtains that, if it were not for the sun, you’d never notice. The last opportunities to walk around the flea markets hand-in-hand with your husband as you point out all the fluffy, adorable puppies that you demand he buy you, but he never does. The last chances to simply stand outside, stretch and breathe in deeply, inhale the warmth of the sunlight. The last moments to enjoy wearing your favorite feminine, flowy, flowery (alliteration!) tank top before you sadly (and begrudgingly) have to banish it for a few months.

And the last few excuses you have to make delicious, creamy ice cream that reminds you of far away islands.

This ice cream is creamy, flavorful and chocked full of graham cracker goodness. And it’s super simple to whip up. Make this before it’s too late 😉

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
adapted from Cooking Light via Good Life Eats

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup lime juice*
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 graham cracker sheets, coarsely crushed

*Note: I used fresh squeezed lime juice but the original recipe states that bottled lime juice can be used. Just be sure that it is as fresh as possible.

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt and sweetened condensed milk; whisk to combine.

Pour mixture into your ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. I used my Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment and let it run for the suggested 25 minutes and my ice cream was not what you would consider soft serve, so I let it run for another 10 minutes until it became more solid.

Stir in the crushed graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon graham crackers. Garnish with lime wedges or lime zest if you wish.

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Ahhhh, who am I kidding? I love ice cream so much that I’m sure I’ll post more in the Winter months. After all, I am the loon who drinks hot cocoa and eats chili in the Summer and craves ice cream in the Winter.