Almond Bundt Cake

Almond Bundt Cake

I am running a bake sale at my oldest son’s school next Saturday. I am considering baking this Almond Bundt Cake as one of the items I contribute to said bake sale. I have made this cake a few times over the past year. It’s delicious! It’s quick and easy to prepare, but extraordinary enough for a special occasion. I think it will sell quickly.

Tip:  Trader Joe’s sells Almond Meal at a reasonable price that is perfect for this recipe.

Almond Bundt Cake

Almond Bundt Cake

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup milk

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons milk (plus more, if needed)

sliced almonds for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Mix together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.

Mix the flour into the mixture, alternating with the cup of milk.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for at least 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Let the cake cool.

Make the glaze. In a bowl, mix the powdered sugar, almond extract and milk together until smooth. Drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle sliced almonds over the top of the cake, if you wish.

 


Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake 2

I might have been slightly delirious when I came up with the idea to hide some yellow squash in chocolate cake. At the time, I was knee deep in squash from my CSA. I was a little desperate to find new ways to use it. I had success using yellow squash in Yellow Squash Cornbread and in Summer Squash Bread, so I was pretty sure I could pull it off in chocolate cake.

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake

Oh my gosh, it was so good, y’all! I was super happy with the result. It was moist and chocolatety. So delicious! You could not tell the cake had squash in it aside from the little flecks of yellow squash on top of the cake after it was baked. The frosting totally covered it up, so problem solved. My 4 year old had no idea. He loved it. My 14 year old son wouldn’t try it (extremely picky eater) because he heard me telling my husband of my plans to use squash in the cake. His loss. The Yellow Squash Cake was awesome!

RECIPE UPDATE: I had someone comment that I must have forgotten the eggs in this recipe since her batter was very dry. There are no eggs in this recipe. The squash releases it’s moisture and it should come together in the end. My cake turned out very moist, although a little more dense than most cakes. I’m sure several factors (humidity, moisture content of the squash, etc…) could make this cake dry.  Make sure you firmly pack the squash into the measuring cup to ensure you get enough squash in the batter to make it moist. Do not decrease the amount of oil or sugar. The batter should not be dry and crumbly or super thick (as in, if you have to press the batter into the pan, something is wrong). If you felt like you need to add 2 eggs, go ahead. The result would probably be a lighter cake.  If you still have a problem with dry, crumbly batter, then try mixing in a liquid (milk or water) a tablespoon at a time until the batter is at a thick, but pourable (with the help of a spatula) consistency.

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake 3

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 firmly packed cups shredded yellow squash

1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch cake pan

In a large bow, mix together the oil, sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture. Fold in the shredded yellow squash. Your batter should be thick, but pourable with the help of a spatula. If your batter is dry and crumbly, try adding a little milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the batter comes together. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat until it all comes together and is a spreadable consistency. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

 


Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake Piece

This cake makes me homesick for Texas. It’s a classic. And no, you cannot substitute any other nuts for the pecans. : ) My kids won’t eat anything with nuts, so if I’m feeling nice I will make the cake and only put the pecans on half the cake. The cake still tastes good, but it is not the same.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 butter
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 2 teaspoons lemon juice and enough milk to make 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Spray a 13 X 9-inch pan with cooking spray and dust with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Combine the water, butter, and cocoa in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer until blended. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs; beating well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool.

For the frosting, combine the butter, milk, and cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread over the hot cake. Sprinkle the cake with the chopped pecans. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

You can bake this cake on a 15 x 10-inch jellyroll pan. Just cut the baking time to about 17 minutes.


Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Yesterday, my 4 year old kept asking me to make a chocolate cake. He loves getting in the kitchen with me and whipping up baked goods. I am still on a low iodine diet (LID) for an upcoming medical treatment and cannot have dairy products or whole eggs. Fortunately, I have a little knowledge about vegan baking. We made these cupcakes that not only were vegan, but also acceptable for LID. Win!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 cup water

Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
warm water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 tins with baking cups.

Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar, and water. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Divide the batter between the 12 baking cup-lined tins. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add one tablespoon of warm water at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. I used about 4 tablespoons of water.

When the cupcakes are cooled, top them with the chocolate glaze. I used about a tablespoon of glaze on each cupcake.


Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

This is the dessert I made for our Thanksgiving meal. I love chai tea. I thought the spices I use in my chai tea would be perfect in a cake. Although it is certainly not a traditional Indian dessert, I think it complimented the Indian food just fine.

My little one could not wait to dig into this cake. When I was tidying up the house, he managed to get a butter knife out of the drawer and carve a trapezoid shape into the side of the cake. He was very proud of himself. We ended up having some chai-spiced cake for breakfast (it was great with coffee) and I had to serve a cake that had missing slices. Martha Stewart probably would not approve, but the nice thing about having laid-back friends is that none of our guests seemed to notice or care.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1 1/4 cup)
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and all the spices. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Next, mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk. Add in another 1/3 of the flour mixing and another 1/3 of the buttermilk. Finally, add in the last of the flour and then the buttermilk. Mix until just combined. Pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the cake with powdered sugar right before serving. I put a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar in a fine mesh sieve and gently tap the side of the sieve with my hand or a wooden spoon to dust the cake.


Flourless Chocolate Torte

Flourless Chocolate Torte

This brownie-like torte will satisfy your chocolate craving. It is fudgy and delicious. You can dress it up with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, and/or a chocolate glaze. My kids loved this torte. My 13 year old ate a small chunk out of the middle of it (see bottom photo) before it even cooled. My 3 year old got into it before I could sprinkle it with powdered sugar to make it look pretty for a picture. Sigh. Oh well, it was still quite good without any embelishment.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

3 tablespoons butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, seperated
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper or foil, replace the sides and clamp it. The extra parchement paper or foil will be hanging out between the bottom and sides of the pan. Spray the inside of the pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Gently melt the butter and chopped unsweetened chocolate in a small pan over very low heat, stirring until smooth. Alternatively, melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave at half power in 30 second intervals, stirring each time. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly.

Beat together the 6 egg  yolks and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the salt, vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate mixture; beat until well combined, about 1 minute.

Wash the beater attachments. In another bowl, beat the egg whites, gradually adding the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, until stiff peaks form. This will take 5 to 6 minutes.

Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate batter. Once incorporated, fold in another 1/3 of the egg whites. Repeat with the remaining 1/3 of egg whites. Pour batter, using a spatula to scrape the sides, into the prepared springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees until the torte is set, about 40 minutes. Let the torte cool completely before removing the sides.

Invert the torte onto a plate. Remove the bottom of the springform pan and the parchment paper or foil. Invert torte onto the serving plate and remove the top plate. You may sprinkle the top of the torte with powdered sugar or drizzle with a chocolate glaze.

Flourless Chocolate Torte 2


Chocolate Fondue and Pound Cake

IMG_0290 (640x480)

Chocolate fondue is a Valentine’s Day tradition for my family. I usually make this chocolate coconut cream fondue but I didn’t buy the ingredients I needed the last time I was shopping for food and didn’t want to go back to the store for just a few items. This year I had to make a fondue with stuff that was already in my pantry. I have a pretty well stocked pantry, so it wasn’t too hard. I used milk chocolate chips because my oldest son prefers them. I think semi-sweet would be good too.

IMG_0281 (640x480)

Chocolate Fondue

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk, cream, or half and half

Heat the sweetened condensed milk in a heavy pan over low heat. Add the chocolate chips, butter, and cream and stir until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined.

Serve the chocolate fondue with various fruits, cookies, and cake for dipping.

IMG_0274

I made this pound cake to go with our chocolate fondue. I usually buy a frozen Sarah Lee pound cake, but I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store so I just made this one. I have yet to find a perfect pound cake recipe. This one is very basic (although not a true pound cake). It’s good for making strawberry shortcake.

I got distracted by my 3-year-old son and overcooked the cake (I baked it for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Don’t do that). It was very dry (my oldest son mentioned something about a brick…), but we were dipping it in chocolate, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I cut off the edges and the bottom and cubed it for the fondue.

Pound Cake

2 sticks (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a loaf pan or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour, mixing on the lowest setting until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan . Let cool completely on a wire rack.