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

TWD – Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

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It might come as a surprise to you that I’m not one of those gals that go gaga over ganache.  I don’t coo at the ganache topping on a cupcake. I don’t hide in the closet in my ninja outfit eating it by the spoonful. And I don’t daydream about skinny dipping in a vat of it. I won’t give up my hypothetical first born for it.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be extremely delicious in a tart perhaps. Or as truffles. It just isn’t my favorite thing in the whole wide baking world.

But this ice cream is something else entirely!! Or at least I have convinced myself that it is.

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Although ganache is naturally smooth, thick, rich and creamy usually draped over some unsuspecting cake… I expected this ice cream to just be a fancy name for plain old chocolate ice cream. No big whoop right?

Wrong-o!! It is beautifully rich and decadent. It’s full bodied chocolate flavor with the smoothest texture ever. And boy, oh boy… it is CREAMY as all get out!!

No, seriously… get out so I can go have some more and not have to share 😉

I followed the recipe except I used David Lebovitz’s method for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. As I have not been gifted one for my kitchenaid yet (Ahem) and I only changed a small thing. Instead of putting the custard into a deep baking dish, I put it in my food processor bowl. I covered it with foil and placed in my freezer for 30 mins. Then I scraped the sides down with a rubber spatula and pulsed a few times until it looked creamy again. Repeat every 30-45 mins for 2-3 hours. The longer you do it, the creamier your ice cream will be.

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Don’t forget to throw your add ins into the mixture while it is still soft and creamy to help with ease of mixing.

My add ins: marshmallows, graham cracker bits, and chocolate chunks. But feel free to completely lose your mind with add ins: caramel, nuts, peanut butter cups, bits of fresh baked brownies, oreos, toffee bits, andes mints (junior mints or any minty chocolate), fruit, sprinkles, hot fudge syrup, a splash of Kahlua, crushed peppermints, etc. This list is only limited by your imagination!!

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A GIANT thanks goes out to Katrina of Baking and Boys for choosing this recipe. I will be making this one again and again and again. Head on over to her blog for the recipe!

Up next week: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

SMS – Chocolate Peppermint Meringues

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Me and meringues apparently don’t get along so well.

On pies, my meringue wants to either set on fire, smoke up my kitchen and become black as night in quite literally 5 seconds after placing it underneath the broiler.

It seems as if my meringue cookies are cursed as well. You see I believe that these were supposed to be chewy and semi-soft… mine were, well here let me show you:

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Yah. I think that about says it all! They were HOLLOW! And crunchy. Almost inedible. Almost. And even if you dared to take a bite, you’d end up with crumbles all over the floor, your mouth, hands, shirt and the cat. Not that I’d know anything about that. I’m just assuming……

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I think the culprit was that I must have whipped my egg whites for too long. It’s the only thing that I was unsure about. Also, my chocolate ‘powder’ was 50% tiny chocolate chips cus I was too chicken to let the processor stay on for too long for fear of ending up with a gritty form of ganache. So, in turn I have beautifully speckled, hollow meringues. And I’m ok with that.

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My second batch did come out a tiiiiiny bit better. I refrigerated the meringue ‘dough’ for 24 hours and baked for a shorter time. They were a bit more chewy but not much different. If there’s a next time, I’d whip less and bake for MUCH less time in the oven.

But all hollowness (and bitterness) aside, they sure do take some pretty pictures.
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A thank you goes out to Kelly of Sweetgrass Sensibilities for choosing this recipe, even if it didn’t want to work out for me. Head on over to her blog for the recipe and make sure to stop by the other bakers’ blogs to see what they are supposed to look and taste like.

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Up next week: Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte.
If this is ANYTHING like the soft chocolate raspberry torte that I’ve already made, I KNOW I will love it. And you will too!

TWD Two-Fer – Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes and Tarte Noire

Paying catch up is always fun 🙂

Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes
Chosen by Wendy of Pink Stripes, head HERE for the recipe.

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These were a breeze to make and smelled divine! I was FINALLY able to use my small heart cakelette pan. I halved the recipe and it was the perfect amount for 6 small cakes. Perfectly adorable and easily sharable. Although I did halve the cake recipe, I didn’t halve the rum syrup. They came out moist and boozy with a tight crumb and a delightful vanilla aroma and flavor. Did I mention boozy? Dorie would be proud 😉

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Check out all the other boozy creations HERE.

Tarte Noire
Chosen by Dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life. Click HERE for the recipe, you’ll want it x10!

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I can’t do this tarte enough justice. I can sit here and wax poetic how Dorie’s ganache tartes are JUST AMAZING, but it just wouldn’t really come out and grab you.

So instead I’ll tell you that this is quite literally the closest you’ll get to nirvana. To heaven. To a Parisian terrace without the plane ride. To pure, unadultered bliss. Its ALL of it. Wrapped into one lovely, glossy, addictive tarte.

Seriously, proceed with caution. This tarte comes with its own disclaimer. Crumbly buttery chocolate shortbread crust filled with a creamy dreamy bittersweet chocolate ganache? Someone call the gluttony police. Wait, do they even exist? They probably should…

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I went for the Chocolate shortbread tarte crust to keep with the ‘noire’ theme. I didn’t save a bit of the dough to patch and cracks (the ONE AND ONLY TIME I didn’t, ugh) and OF COURSE my crust looked like an earthquake ravaged by oven. But thanks to my genius of a fiancé, he suggested that I just melt some chocolate and spread a thin layer over the crust to seal the holes and just freeze it before pouring in the ganache. GENIUS!! Problem: deliciously fixed! I melted, slathered, froze, poured and chilled. It sounds like a lot… but this tarte was seriously a total of mayyybe 10 mins hands-on time.

You’ll get more hands-to-mouth time that’ll make you forget aaaall about those measly 10 mins of prep time. Pah, 10 mins is NOTHING when you get this as a reward for all your efforts.

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Next time I might substitute some Kahlua for the heavy cream. Cus it’s good. And I’m boozy like that.

Did I ever mention that ‘boozy’ is one of my all time favorite words to say? Boozy. Say it with the best British accent you can muster. I’ll wait….

Fun, N’est pas?!

Up next week: Brrrr-ownies. These are goooooood. So good.

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MSC – S’mores Cupcakes!

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I. LOVE. S’MORES.

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Some may call it an obsession.

While most people think of snow and holidays and gift-wrapping once chilly weather arrives, I… think of s’mores.

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Once acceptable s’mores weather passes, I make ’em in the microwave: assemble (minus the top graham cracker) and zap it for 10 seconds, top with graham cracker and squish!! Mmmm.

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Anywho, you can imagine my childish squealing mature delight at being able to make this along with the MSC group this month.

I made half of the cupcake recipe, full recipe of the ganache and made 1/3 recipe of the 7 minute frosting instead of the marshmallow frosting.

I pulsed graham crackers in my food processor until it was fine, and assumed that this was what Martha meant by ‘graham flour.’ I also tossed a few chocolate chips on top of the cupcakes before they went in the over but they sunk to the bottom. Once they were cool, I cut small circles out of the tops of each cupcake to hold a bit extra ganache. Cus, let’s face it, ganache makes everything better. Topped it with a dollop of frosting. Magnifique!

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All I can say is, these bad boys are trouble. A few people have tasted them and that’s the exact same response given by everyone. And I heartily accept that as a compliment 🙂

A huge thank you to Mary Ann from Meet Me in the Kitchen for indulging in my obsession, even though you didn’t know I had one 🙂

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TWD – Milk Chocolate (bundt) Cupcakes

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Can you imagine what the world would be like if I worked at Williams-Sonoma?

Ok, I think the proper question is what would my KITCHEN be like if I worked at Williams-Sonoma? The answer? Intensively cluttered. I would have every knick-knack that I don’t need and everything that came in red, pink or was pint-sized would be mine. This includes this mini bundt pan that I’ve had my eye on at WS. You see, I have a problem with buying things that are smaller than its normal, universally accepted counterparts. I think its cute. And that’s my justification. That’s it… its cute. But the frugal woman inside of me has yet to grant me permission to buy the mini bundt pan.

You can imagine my face and my annoyance when I read this week’s TWD recipe. Oh the glares that I shot at the book would make any man shudder. Or at least think twice before denying me a mini bundt pan.

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On to the cake! I made it in cupcake form instead of adorable, stylish little bundts (no, I am NOT bitter) and it took the full 23 minutes for the toothpick to come out with moist crumblettes on it. The texture reminds me slightly of pound cake because of its tender and dense crumb. My walnut swirl wasn’t as beautiful as I’d imagined but no one really cared. *sigh* I guess I’m the only one who likes her goodies to be aesthetically pleasing as well.

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It lacked a bit in flavor, but I mainly chalk that up to the chocolate: I used Nestle which is what I had on hand rather than a higher quality chocolate. All in all it was still tasty.

The only thing I would do differently next time is double the ganache recipe because I didn’t even have enough to fully cover 5 cupcakes, and the recipe yielded 7 regular sized ones. I mean, what are people going to be more upset with: barely any ganache or enough ganache to make the world go ’round? It’s not rocket science people 🙂

Thank you to Kristin of I’m Right About Everything for choosing this recipe (head on over for the recipe). And for silently urging me to get that mini bundt pan. Just in case I didn’t long for it enough before, I am lusting over it now. 😉 Be sure to check up on the TWD Bakers as well.

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TWD – Split Level Pudding

split level pudding

I have to admit, there was only ONE reason why I ever attempted to make this weeks TWD recipe choice: the fiance. I would be making something that he would actually TRY and possibly NOT make a face about.

I couldn’t deny him this (especially since EVERYTHING I’ve baked with TWD has been passed up by him. He’s a simple dessert man.) Making pudding from scratch irked me a bit, as I’ve never made it before. It was uncharted territory and that struck a bit of fear into my heart. I’m a weenie.

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But oh boy let me tell you, if he never wants me to make it again I wouldn’t be hurt. There was more to do than I realized and here I thought this would be simple. In the pot to the processor back to the pot and back to the processor… it’s more than I want to deal with ever again. So, if there IS a next time, I’ll make it in a bowl with a whisk to minimize the hassle and spare myself some wasted nerves. Milk boiling over the pot kinda does that to ya.

I haven’t tried it yet and I didn’t get much time to photograph so I’ll update once its been tasted. Thanks to Garrett of The Flavor of Vanilla for choosing this recipe and forcing me to make my first from scratch pudding EVER!

If you’d like to know a bit more about Garrett, head on over to the TWD page and read the OSI post and head on over to the TWD blogroll to see how the other bakers fared.