Boston Cream Pie

This is from David Leibovitz – it is perfect. You need time to make this as everything needs to chill between steps. I did it over 2 days. So worth all the work!

Custard filling

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, (split vertically) or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Sponge Cake

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c whole milk
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c sugar

Chocolate glaze

  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup or golden syrup
  • 4 ozs bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For the custard filling

  • Add the milk to a medium saucepan and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds from the half vanilla bean into the milk. Add the vanilla pod to the milk and warm over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt. Turn off heat.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until smooth, then whisk in the flour. Gradually pour about 1 cup (250ml) of the warmed milk into the yolks while whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan. 
  • Turn the heat back on to medium-high heat and cook the custard, stirring the mixture with a whisk constantly (don’t vigorously whip it, which will make it harder to see what’s happening, and tire you out – just stir it) for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to the next-to-lowest temperature and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a whisk for 8 minutes. The mixture will continue to bubble gently as you cook it, but will not break due to the flour. Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and keep it nearby.
  • When the custard is thick, scrape the mixture into the strainer and press it through with a flexible spatula. Stir in the cold butter and vanilla extract (if using extract instead of the vanilla bean), until smooth. (Even if using vanilla bean, I often add around 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to round out the vanilla flavor, so you can use both bean and extract.) Butter a piece of parchment paper and place it butter-side-down on top of the cream. Chill thoroughly, for several hours or overnight. (The vanilla bean can be rinsed thoroughly and dried, and used for something else.)

For the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC.) Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch (23cm) cake pans and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. 
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and the butter until the butter is melted. Remove from heat, add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and set aside. Cover to keep warm.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or with a hand mixer, or by hand in a bowl with a whisk…and a lot of moxie) whip the eggs and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, gradually dribble in the warm milk and butter until combined, then the flour mixture.
  • Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and give it a few stirs by hand with a flexible spatula to make sure everything is incorporated, then quickly divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops and bake until the top of the cakes are golden brown and the center springs back when you touch it and the cake feels done, about 20 to 22 minutes. Don’t overbake. Let the cakes cool completely. 

To finish the cake 

  • Run a knife around the cakes to remove them from the cake pans and peel off the parchment paper. Put one round of cake on a serving plate. Remove the custard filling from the refrigerator, which likely has stiffened up, so give it a few good stirs with a whisk or spatula to loosen it up and remove any lumps. Spread it over the top of the cake on the plate. Top with the second round of cake. Chill the two-layer cake while you prepare the glaze.
  • To make the glaze, gently warm the cream, corn syrup and chocolate is a small saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and let stand about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is thick yet spreadable. Pour it over the center of the cake and use a spatula or butter knife to coax it toward the edges, letting it drip down the side.
  • Refrigerate the cake until firm enough to slice, which will take at least 2-3 hours. If you try to slice it before the filling is well-chilled it’ll be messy to slice so patience pays off.

Texas Sheet Cake

Thus cake comes together in minutes and is so moist! You don’t even have to wait for the cake to cool to frost.

  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • ICING:
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Toasted pecans for garnish

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, bring the butter, water and cocoa to a boil. Remove from the heat. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; add to cocoa mixture. Stir in the sour cream until smooth.
  • Pour into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter; add milk and cocoa. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour over warm cake. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Malted Cake

This is a quick and easy cake!

Cake:

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c malted milk powder

1 c flour

6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

3/4 c milk

6 tbsp butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

Glaze:

8 oz semisweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp butter

3/4 c heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 inch baking pan.

Beat butter and sugar together until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time and beat until incorporated.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Mixx 1/2 the flour and milk in the bowl and beat until combined. Add remaining and beat until smooth.

Pour into pan and bake for 25 – 35 minutes. Let cool and flip out of the pan.

Make the glaze:

Heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter and chips. Let stand 5 minutes and whisk until smooth.

Pour over cake.

Serves 10.

Earl Grey Tea Cake With Dark Chocolate and Orange Zest

This cake is from the NYT – it so light and magical – the orange zest, chocolate bits and early gray are a winning combination. I upped the cream cheese and cut the cake in half because I like frosting in the middle of my cake.

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ¾ c heavy cream
  • 2 tsp loose Earl Grey tea
  • ¼ c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 c cream cheese

FOR THE CAKE:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 ½ c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ c whole milk, at room temperature
  • ¼ c chopped dark chocolate

PREPARATION

  1. Prepare the frosting: In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 c heavy cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the tea, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids, and chill the remaining cream until completely cold, at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, tea, baking powder and salt.
  3. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the orange zest and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the flour mixture on low, until just combined, then beat in the milk. (Don’t overmix.) Add the chocolate and fold it in using a spatula. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake just until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then tip the cake out onto the rack to cool completely. Slice in half, flipping one half onto a plate.
  4. To finish the frosting, add cream cheese with confectioners sugar and best until light and airy. On low speed add the cream and beat slowly increasing the speed until smooth.
  5. Spread 1/3 the frosting on the first layer. Flip the second layer on top. Top the cake with the remaining frosting to serve.
  6. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days; let come to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Banana Bread

This is what happens when there are too many overripe bananas in our house. It is adapted from a recipe I found on Food52.

1 1/4 c whole-wheat flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 c coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
3 – 4 mashed ripe banana
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla e
3/4 c chocolate chips
1 c grated zucchini

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. 

In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar for 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggs into the sugar and oil mixture, one at a time. Add the dry ingredients, beat to combine. Add the remaining ingredeints and beat to combine.

Pour into the pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. When a toothpick comes out clean, the bread is ready.

Makes one loaf.

Crunchy Flourless Chocolate Cake

2015/01/img_0878.jpg

2015/01/img_0867.jpg
This cake is oh so rich! The amazing Dorothy Greenspan came up with this one – she always nails it!

Ingredients:
14 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 eggs at room temp
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
4 TBSP cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9 inch glass pie dish.

Combine chocolate and butter in a glass container, microwave at 30% power in 40 sec intervals, stirring until smooth and shinny. Let cool slightly.

Whisk eggs in a stand mixer, add sugar and cornstarch, whisk until smooth. Stir in chocolate butter mixture and cocoa nibs until smooth. Pour into pan.

Bake 28 – 32 minutes until skewer comes out almost clean. Cool to room temp.

Makes 12 servings.

Beef Chili

IMG_9899.JPGSo the rain has finally come, and it’s chili time!! This was loosely inspired by a recipe from Food52. The secret to great chili is to let is simmer all day! The addition of coffee and chocolate make this one very unique and complex. Take a chance and try it you won’t regret it.

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 diced onion
2 diced bell peppers
4 cloves minced garlic
2 – 3 diced chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles
16 oz stout beer
2-3 dried bay leaves
1 TBSP ground cumin
2 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP cayenne red pepper
1 TBSP salt
2 TBSP finely chopped dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa)
2 TBSP instant coffee grounds

Garnish:
Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Shredded cheese

In a large pot, brown the beef over medium heat, remove. Add onions and peppers, cook 4 minutes until soft. Add garlic and chipolte peppers cook for an additional 30 seconds, add spices and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add remaining ingredients except garnish and stir to combine, stir in beef and cook partially covered over the lowest possible heat for several hours.

To serve top with with sour cream, cheese, green onions and what ever else you might fancy.

Serves 4 – 6.

Chocolate Caramel Mug Cake

IMG_9255.JPG
Sometimes you have to have cake and you have to have it now!! That’s where this recipe comes in… Cake in under 6 minutes!

Ingredients:
4 TBSP flour
3 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP cocoa powder
2 TBSP beaten egg or egg substitute
3 TBSP milk
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP caramel sauce
Sea salt

Mix the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder in a mug. Add the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Swirl in the caramel sauce or melted caramel and sprinkle the top with sea salt. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until the top is just dry.

Serves 1.

Fig, Almond, Chocolate and Honey Bites

IMG_8290.JPG
These little bites are amazing – and healthy. Another home run from my favorite cook book author, Patricia Wells.

Ingredients:
4 oz almonds, toasted and ground
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken
3 TBSP honey
2 TBSP water
Zest of one lemon
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 oz dried figs, finely chopped

In a small saucepan combine chocolate, water and honey over medium low heat until smooth. Stir in zest, salt, cinnamon, figs and ground almonds.

Spoon into a mini muffin pan lined with mini muffin wrappers. Chill for 30
Minutes. Store in fridge in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 24.

Chocolate Custard with Cocoa Nibs

IMG_8282.JPG
This dessert is amazing and takes just a couple minutes to whip up.

Ingredients:
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c half and half
2 TBSP butter
Salt
1 TBSP cocoa nibs

In a small pan heat cream and 1/4 c water until simmering. Add chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into ramekins and chill.

When ready to serve sprinkle with cocoa nibs and salt.

Serves 4.