Archive for the 'Dessert' Category

Maple Cake with Maple Syrup Frosting

Maple Cake with Maple Syrup Frosting

The last two times we’ve gone skiing in Vermont, my non-skiing wife insisted that we take at least one day and go exploring.  For us, exploring consists of visiting cheese makers, ice cream makers, a brewery, and, of course, maple syrup producers.  It was an interesting experience visiting several different producers, trying the different grades, and then tasting the differences between different areas and producers.  Similar to wine, the terroir makes a difference.

After our last trip, we come home laden with more maple syrup, even though we had an unfinished bottle in the fridge from our previous trip.  With so much maple syrup in our house, when I first read the title of this recipe in Bon Appetit, I knew I had to make it.

I made it when we had planned to have several guests.  Instead, only Alison decided to join us.  So that meant a lot of cake for me to eat for breakfast and lunch during the week, even after we sent Alison home with some of the leftovers.

Surprisingly, given the article that this recipe was part of, this is not a typical cake.  It’s sweetness is muted.  The cake itself is subdued in flavor while the icing provides a good counterpoint with the dark maple flavor and the tangyness of the cream cheese.

This isn’t a particularly difficult recipe but I did have problems getting the maple syrup to mix with the butter and shortening in a smooth fashion.  I beat it until the fat particles were relatively small and, in the end, I don’t think it made much of a difference.  The original recipe calls for walnuts in the cake and in the frosting, but I omitted them because of Angela’s preferences.

Maple Cake with Maple Syrup Frosting
Adapted from Bon Appetit April 2010

Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking power
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1 tbsp chunks
2 tbsp vegetable shortening, softened
2 cups Grade B maple syrup
3 egg yolks
1 egg
1 1/4 cups whole milk

Frosting:
8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1 tbsp chunks
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp Grade B maple syrup

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
  2. Butter and flour two 8″ cake pans.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening until creamy and fluffy.
  5. Add the maple syrup and beat until the mixture is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the egg yolks and the egg one at a time, pausing until the mixture is well combined before adding the next one.
  7. Beat in the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the milk.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
  9. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then remove from the cake pans.
  11. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and maple syrup and beat until just combined.
  12. Make a layer cake, by icing the cake with the frosting.

Serves 10.

Sablés

Sables

These are the most addictive cookies I’ve ever eaten.  Even more so than Thin Mints.  It took a significant amount of will-power to not eat just one more.

Well, that was until we ate them all.  They only lasted two days.  There was a slight bit of miscommunication in our household involving the cookies (“Matthew ate them all!”). Angela still isn’t amused by that.

Sablés are lightly sweet with a predominant butter flavor.  In many ways, they are very French.  They’re basically the cookie form of a sweet tart dough but they also manage to be just a bit better than straight tart dough would be.  It may just be the shape (or the added sugar coating).

The problem I always have with recipes that need to be refrigerated is that when I want to make cookies, I want to make the cookies right now.  I don’t want to have to wait several hours to have the sweet ambrosia; I want it now.

It was my good fortune to actually wait and make these cookies.  The wait was definitely worth it.  We were nearly fighting over the cookies; they were that good.

Sables Before Baking

Sablés
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
coarse sugar

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed.
  2. Add the sugars and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and beat in 2 of the egg yolks.
  4. Turn off the mixer and add the flour.  Pulse the mixer at low speed 5 times to begin to combine the flour.  Mix at low speed for about 30 seconds or until the flour is well incorporated.
  5. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place on a work surface.  Divide the dough in half.  Shape each half into an approximately 9-inch long smooth log and wrap it with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  7. Working with one log at a time, brush it on all sides with beaten egg yolk.  Sprinkle all over with the coarse sugar.
  8. Slice the log into 1/3 inch thick cookies.  Place the cookies on a baking sheet, separated by 1 inch.
  9. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned on top.

Makes about 50 cookies.

Watermelon Sorbetto

Watermelon Sorbetto

With the coming of summer, I’ve been tempted by all the various melons at the farmer’s market. It’s hard for me to resist those juicy orbs.

Unfortunately, I have the distinct tendency to bring a newly purchased melon home, put it in the refrigerator, and then promptly forget to eat it. Normally, discovering that I had some form of melon that I didn’t know I had (well, not too long after I bought it), isn’t a bad thing but I still have to figure out what to do with it.

I usually intend to chop it up and take it with me to work for breakfast. My problem is that at night, I’ll tell myself I’ll cut it up in the morning. And in the morning, I don’t feel like cutting it up in my half-awake state and that I’ll cut it up that night for the next day. Rinse, repeat, ad nauseum, and I wind up with the forgotten melon.

I finally had enough of the watermelon accusingly staring me in the face every time I opened the refrigerator and decided to do something about it. Hence, watermelon sorbetto.

This isn’t actually the first time I made a watermelon sorbet. I tried one sometime last year (I don’t remember what recipe I used) but I don’t remember being impressed by it. I think it might have been a texture issue. I find that texture is very important in frozen desserts so I made sure to strain the watermelon purée which made for a very smooth sorbet.

The sorbet ended up tasting more like watermelon than eating the watermelon straight did (which was good as I realized the watermelon was much closer to tasteless than I like). The mini-chocolate chips add a nice contrast to the sorbet as well as looking like seeds. Be aware that the sorbet freezes very hard and needs to be allowed to soften for several minutes before eating (or you may break your spoon).

Watermelon

Watermelon Sorbetto
Adapted from Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments

3 lbs. watermelon, seeded and cubed
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp vodka
2 tbsp mini chocolate chips

  1. Purée the watermelon in a food processor or blender. Run the watermelon purée through a fine mesh strainer. Measure out 3 cups of watermelon juice.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat approximately 1/2 cup of the watermelon juice along with the sugar and salt until the sugar has thoroughly dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  3. Combine the watermelon juice in the saucepan with the other watermelon juice and place in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the lime juice and vodka.
  4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  5. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. During the last minute of freezing, pour in the chocolate chips.
  6. Remove from the ice cream maker’s bowl and place in a container. Place the container in the freezer to finish freezing.
  7. Several minutes before eating, remove from the freezer.

Makes about 1 quart

Caramel Ice Cream

Caramel Ice Cream

As long as I’ve known her, Angela has appreciated anything and everything caramel. Given I’ve found it’s in my best interest to keep her happy, I decided to make her some caramel ice cream.

I almost didn’t post this recipe because it didn’t work for me as written.  The original recipe had you add the heavy cream to the caramel and that was it.  Unfortunately, when I was making this, the caramel solidified in the presence of the heavy cream.  Luckily, I realized it would melt again if the heavy cream was heated but I did have to blaze my own trail through the recipe.

Sugar Ready to be Caramelized

I have to admit, however, that it may have been might fault. Given Angela’s preferences, I didn’t caramelize the sugar heavily. I think that the sugar simply wasn’t hot enough in comparison to the heavy cream. So, you may not have my issues and the caramel may stay liquid after you add the heavy cream.

Despite my difficulties, this was definitely worth it.  Homemade ice cream always has a taste premium over store bought but I think that caramel emphasizes that difference.  It was very rich but very good.

Caramelizing Sugar for Ice Cream

Caramel Ice Cream
Adapted from Room For Dessert : 110 Recipes for Cakes, Custards, Souffles, Tarts, Pies, Cobblers, Sorbets, Sherbets, Ice Creams, Cookies, Candies, and Cordials

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 tsp salt
6 egg yolks

  1. Sprinkle the sugar evenly on the bottom of a heavy sauce pan (perferably non-stick).  Add the vanilla bean.  Place over medium heat and cook until the sugar caramelizes and begins to smoke, stirring occassionally.
  2. Carefully add the heavy cream (it may boil violently).  If the caramel is not dissolved in the heavy cream, heat the heavy cream over medium heat stirring regularly, until the caramel has dissolved.
  3. Whisk in the half-and-half and the salt.
  4. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk together.  Slowly whisk in 1/4 of the heavy cream mixture into the egg yolks.  Return the egg yolks and heavy cream to the pan.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat.
  6. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  7. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions then place in the freezer to complete the freezing process.

Makes about 1 quart.

Sanguinaccio (Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding)

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Chocolate pudding invariably brings back memories of childhood. I doubt that there have ever been children that dislike pudding. It’s got a cream texture and it comes in so many flavors that there has to be one that you enjoy.

During my childhood, I didn’t get the pudding in the now familiar pudding snack form (which my wife still likes). My mom would make pudding from the Jello box (and never the generic brand).

Every few months, I’d notice that there was a bowl of pudding chilling in the refrigerator and I knew it would appear on the table after dinner for dessert (which, despite the fact that he rarely made it, my dad insisted on presenting). Or better yet, I’d get to eat it for breakfast.

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This, however, is not the pudding of my childhood. It’s much richer and more chocolaty. The spices also make it a bit different. But, at it’s core, it’s still chocolate pudding.

I failed to properly melt all the chocolate in the pudding so there were small chunks floating around. Personally, I enjoyed having a bit more texture to the pudding but it isn’t the intended effect so, assuming you want smooth pudding, make sure to stir until all the chocolate has melted.

I liked the pudding, both for dessert and breakfast. It went particularly well with some whipped cream.

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Sanguinaccio (Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding)
Adapted from Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups whole milk
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, and sugar. Slowly whisk in the milk until it forms a paste than whisk in the remaining milk.
  2. Transfer the milk mixture from the bowl into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and return to the bowl. Stir in the chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon and whisk until the chocolate is completed melted.
  4. Allow the pudding to cool to room temperature then chill in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve the chilled pudding topped with whipped cream.

Makes 10 servings.

Peach Pie

Slice of Peach Pie

Recently, I found that I had a craving for a peach pie. What’s strange about this is that I’m fairly certain I’ve never had a peach pie before.

Luckily for me, it’s peach season here in California. To my taste buds, the peaches here aren’t quite as sweet as those on the east coast; Angela merely dislikes the fact that they aren’t Georgia peaches.

I bought some peaches at the farmer’s market, mainly on a whim. I had had the peach pie craving for awhile but had failed to look for any recipes before leaving so I had to guess as to how many to buy.

I did manage to guess correctly although I’m not entirely certain I got free stone peaches. I had more trouble with slicing the first couple than I did with the rest but they still held onto their pits pretty well.

This pie ended up being everything I was looking for in a peach pie. The peach flavor showed through. The peaches held their shape (one of my father’s complaints about peach pie is that the peaches get too soft; not these peaches).

The first slice of pie was for dessert but most of the rest ended up being my breakfast (what? peaches are good for you). After writing this up, I want to make a peach pie again.

Peach Pie ready to be covered

Peach Pie
Adapted from Deborah Tyler via The New York Times Dessert Cookbook

5 or 6 large free stone peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/2″ thick
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
prepared butter pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Mix the peaches, cornstarch, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl until combined.
  3. Divide the dough in half and roll out the first piece into an 11″ diameter circle. Place the dough into a 9″ pie pan and cut off any extra.
  4. Spread the peach mixture into the pie crust.
  5. Roll out the second dough half into a circle 11″ in diameter. Place the dough on top of the pie, crimping the edges, and cutting off any extra.
  6. Make 6 cuts on top of the pie crust to allow venting.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over top of the pie crust.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF, and bake for 50 more minutes.
  9. Serve either warm or cooled.

Makes 1 pie.

Peach Pie


Butter Pastry
Adapted from Deborah Tyler via
The New York Times Dessert Cookbook

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has the consistency of cornmeal.
  2. Add 3 to 4 tbsp of water and pulse until the mixture forms a ball.
  3. Knead the dough briefly so that the dough comes together.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 15 minutes.

Makes enough crust for one 9″ double crust pie

Chocolat Tarte de Rue Tatin

Chocolat Tarte de Rue Tatin

The first time that I saw this recipe I just knew that I had to make it some day. It combines two of my favorite things for desserts: tarts and chocolate.

I kept forgetting about the recipe and refinding it when I ended up flipping through the cookbook. The idea of making this has been floating through my head for over a year now. I had finally decided to make it with the extra tart dough from the Meyer Lemon Tart but the dough wasn’t really workable when I removed it from the freezer so I had to discard the tart dough. However, by that point, I had already committed to making it and decided to make a fresh tart dough fo rit.

I’d like to say that it was then a transcendental experience upon eating this after such a wait, but it was merely good. It managed to be chocolately but not overwhelmingly so. The chocolate was at a good intensity and it wasn’t at all sweet. What I really noticed was that the chocolate seemed a bit dry. This is probably because I’m mostly used to chocolate desserts being sweeter than this one.

I should probably confess that we didn’t finish eating the tart.  It wasn’t possible for me to really eat a lot of the tart at once and it was too much chocolate for Angela.  It didn’t help that shortly after I made it I had to travel to the east coast for work.

I would reserve this tart for only the true chocolate lovers.

Diced Chocolat

Chocolat Tarte de Rue Tatin
Adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate

1/3 cup heavy cream
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
one 10″ prebaked tart shell

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Warm the heavy cream in a large saucepan until the edges begin to bubble. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir the chocolate into the heavy cream until the chocolate has completely melted. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate one at a time.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie crust and smooth out as much as possible.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the filling is set but not too firm.
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve with whipped cream.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.


Pâte Sucrée
Adapted from
The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp nonfat dry milk (optional)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter, cold, cut into tablespoons
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp water

  1. Combine the flour, dry milk, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and water and pulse until the mixture forms a ball.
  4. Remove the dough from the food processor and roll out into a round to fit the tart shell. Place the dough into the tart shell. Prick the bottom of the tart shell multiple times with a fork. Refrigerate the tart dough for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  6. Place a layer of aluminum foil over the tart shell and place pie weights on top of the aluminum foil.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is set. Remove the aluminum foil and pie weights.
  8. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the crust is browned.

Makes one 9 to 10″ tart shell

Meyer Lemon Tart

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This recipe is specifically posted for Christina, my cousin Jesse’s wife. They came to visit us in California and, after I had served the Meyer Lemon Tart as well let slip about this food blog, Christina asked if it was going to be posted here. Well, Christina, here it is. And the rest of you can read it too.

I made this mostly by accident. Shortly after making the Meyer Lemon Sorbet, some one at work left a bag filled with Meyer lemons in the kitchen area. Given the success the previous recipe was, I snatched up more than my fair share (I initially took less but when there were some left over as I was leaving, I grabbed a few more). To make me seem like an even worse person, the Meyer lemons have sat in my fridge since then.

After awhile, I decided that it was finally time to do something with the Meyer lemons. While more sorbet always is good, I wanted to do something different with them. So I finally decided on this recipe because I like tarts and Angela likes lemons (there’s a joke in there somewhere but I can’t quite find it).

I’m pretty sure this is the only recipe I’ve ever made that required more than a dozen eggs. This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It is rich and over-the-top. It uses just under a pound of butter, a good amount of sugar, and the previously mentioned eggs. But, then again, when you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right.

As you might’ve guessed given the prior statement of a recipe request, it was pretty good. To me, it was the perfect balance between lemon, sweet, and tart. Angela though it wasn’t tart enough (but she’s wrong). We didn’t need to eat a lot of it as a small piece was quite enough to suffice. It went quite well with the Lucas & Lewellen 2005 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.

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Meyer Lemon Tart
Adapted from The New York Times Dessert Cookbook

1 1/2 cups plus 3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 large egg yolks
1/2 tbsp milk
12 oz. all purpose flour (about 2 1/3 cups)
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
zest from 5 or 6 Meyer lemons
5 large eggs

  1. Allow 1 cup of butter to soften then cut into tablespoons.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and 1/2 cup sugar.
  3. Add 1 egg yolk and the milk and mix to combine.
  4. Mix the flour with 1/4 tsp salt and then slowly add it to the electric mixer. Continue mixing until the flour is incorporated.
  5. Divide the dough into two balls, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Reserve one ball of dough for a future use.
  6. Grease a 10-inch tart pan. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it on a lightly floured surface to 1/8″ thickness. Place the dough into the tart pan and prick the bottom with a fork. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  7. In a nonstick saucepan, place the lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 cup sugar, 11 tbsp butter, and 1/8 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted.
  8. In a bowl, combine the whole eggs and the 7 remaining egg yolks and whisk until well blended. Temper the lemon mixture into the eggs slowly. Return the lemon and egg mixture to the saucepan.
  9. Heat the saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to a pudding like consistency. Remove from the heat. Strain the lemon curd into a bowl.
  10. Remove the tart pan from the freezer. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the tart shell and fill with pastry weights. Bake for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the aluminum foil and pastry weights and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tart shell is golden.
  12. Pour the lemon curd into the tart shell and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Serves 8.

Black Raspberry Ice Cream

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I like ice cream. I like ice cream a lot. And really, who doesn’t? Unlike many of you, my favorite flavor is a little bit more unusual. I don’t prefer chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. No, my favorite is black raspberry. It doesn’t hurt that it also goes well with chocolate (sprinkles or syrup).

There’s one disadvantage to liking black raspberry ice cream so much: it’s only available in the mid-Atlantic states. I have yet to figure out why exactly this is. The same brands that make black raspberry in Maryland don’t sell it in California (I’m looking at you Breyer’s). I couldn’t even find it in Upstate New York when I was in college.

For a long time, black raspberry ice cream was one of those things that I made sure to enjoy when I visited my parents (usually, steamed crabs are one of the others). However, one of our wedding presents was an ice cream maker.

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This only solved half of my problem as I had no idea where to buy black raspberries. In fact, I had never seen one. But, perusing the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe’s, I noticed they sold them frozen! I finally had the last part of the equation.

And then the black raspberries sat in my freezer throughout the winter. Now that the warmer weather has come, I decided to indulge myself.

And I can’t believe I waited this long. After dinner, I’ve taken to eating directly out of the container with a bit of chocolate syrup drizzled on top.

The recipe I adapted from one for raspberry ice cream. It does come out a tad bit sour so it could use more sugar if you like desserts sweeter but that will decrease the prominence of the black raspberries. Served with chocolate syrup it’s pretty good as it is.

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Black Raspberry Ice Cream
Adapted from Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments

2 10 oz. bags of frozen black raspberries, defrosted
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Run the black raspberries through a food mill fitted with a disc with the smallest holes to create raspberry purée.
  2. Warm the milk and 1 cup heavy cream in a medium saucepan.
  3. Pour the cream into a large bowl with a strainer over top.
  4. In a different bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly temper the warm milk into the egg yolks, then return the milk to the saucepan.
  5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture because thick enough to coat the back of a spatula.
  6. Pour the milk-egg mixture into the bowl of cream via the strainer.
  7. Mix the raspberry purée and lemon juice into the bowl.
  8. Allow to cool and then refrigerate until cold.
  9. Mix in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes about 1 quart.

Devil’s Food Cake

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When I was younger, there was a period of time where I was convinced I didn’t like cake. Sure, on my birthday, I’d have a birthday cake. I’d eat a piece because that’s what you do and it’s polite. But it never was particularly good.

I blame box cake mixes for this. Box cakes are always too dry and the canned icing is always too sweet. But my real problem with cake mixes is that they really don’t save that much effort. So I don’t have to mix together the dry ingredients? That takes me all of 30 seconds. And I need to use oil instead of butter? And this makes it better?

Maybe I’m unusual in that I usually have all the proper ingredients for a cake at home (although I did have to delay making this by one day because we were out of eggs). Maybe a modicum of effort is too much for the average person.

I read that one possible explanation for the poor initial sales of cake mixes was that powdered eggs were included and that a house wife wanted to contribute to the cake by adding the eggs herself. I’m not sure if I buy that explanation (if you look at the time when sales of cake mixes increased it corresponds particularly well with an increase in women working).

Usually, when I want to make a dessert, I either want something a bit more sophisticated than cake (excepting chocolate chip cookies because they’re just good). But every once-in-awhile, I really get a craving cake. Not something extraordinarily chocolatey. Nor an ornate texture. Just something simple and good.

Enter Devil’s Food Cake. This cake was exactly what I wanted (and even the chocolate hater liked it). It wasn’t chocolate overload. It was sweet overload. It was just a simple chocolate cake with a simple chocolate icing. And it was just about perfect at what it was.

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Devil’s Food Cake
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

12 tbsp butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy, several minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
  4. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next egg.
  5. With the mixer running on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the milk. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.
  6. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and pour half of the batter into each one. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool. Remove the cakes from the cake pans and add the icing.

Chocolate Buttercream
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp milk

  1. Using the medium power on the microwave, melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl about 3/4 of the way.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and salt until the butter is fluffy.
  3. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and beat slowly until it is well blended.
  4. Add the vanilla and half of the milk and beat until fluffy.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well mixed.
  6. Add the remaining sugar and milk and beat until fluffy.
  7. Ice the cake immediately.