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Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

It’s rhubarb season!  And as my friend Susan will tell you, “everyone should eat more rhubarb.”  Why not, when it’s so easy to make this sweet little cake highlighting summer’s best?

I’ve seen this described as rhubarb “tres leches” cake, and although it actually only contains dos leches, the fruit and cream do sink to the bottom and create a delectable custard.  We demolished several slices with friends recently and continued picking at pan scraps and “shaving” off corners to make the rest “more uniform.”  I take that as a good sign.

When the sight of neon pink and green stalks at the market finally proves irresistible, be sure to make this cake.  Enjoy!  And happy summer!

Yellow cake:

-1 1/4 (scant) c. all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-3/4 c. sugar
-1/4 c. oil
-1 egg
-2/3 c. milk
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

Fruit & custard layer:

-2 c. chopped rhubarb (about 3 large stalks)
-1/2 c. sugar
-1 c. whipping cream

1.  In a medium bowl, toss rhubarb with the 1/2 cup sugar.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour an 8-in. round baking pan or large glass/ceramic baking dish.

2.  Prepare cake batter: whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  In a larger bowl, mix eggs, vanilla extract, oil, and milk.  Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet until thoroughly combined.

3.  Pour cake batter into prepared pan.  Scatter chopped rhubarb and juices evenly across the top.  Pour the cream over top.

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A few weeks ago, I went on an Iron Chef-style mission to empty my fridge by cooking creatively.  With plans to leave town for the next 15 days, I did not want to come home to any nasty (green, fuzzy, smelly) surprises.  And I hate to waste food.

When I found a pint of buttermilk lurking in the fridge, I thought chocolate buttermilk cake might be the answer.  This recipe sounded promising but needed to be scaled down.  Although I was a little nervous about the success of my sketchy mathematics, I forged ahead.

I shouldn’t have worried.  As my husband took his first bite, I asked, “Is it as good as the Guinness Chocolate Cake?”

“Better,” he said with a smile.

Iron Chef: 1; Waste: 0

This buttermilk chocolate cake is moist, dark, and moderately sweet.  Sweet-tart raspberry sauce and a bit of whipped cream are the perfect accompaniments.

(Adapted from “P@perseed)

For the cake:

-1 c. all-purpose flour
-3/4 c. sugar
-1 1/3 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch-process)
-1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. oil
-1/2 c. buttermilk
-1 large egg
-1/2 c. strong, hot coffee
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (more…)

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Dear Diary,

I think I’ve found “The One.” This key lime tart might just be my dessert soul mate. Its sophisticated looks and great taste are irresistible. Although we had a whirlwind romance, this feels like true love. I can hardly believe I’ve found so many of my favorite flavors in one dessert. Cancel my Tastespotting subscription; I’m set. This is it.

Admittedly, I’ve always had a crush on key lime pie. The Libra in me is drawn to that perfect balance of tangy citrus and creamy custard. But add a scarlet ribbon of raspberry jam, and […sigh…] I go weak in the knees. Swap out the graham cracker crust for a crumbly pistachio-butter-cookie base, and I start thinking maybe you can have it all. This tart? It’s the whole package.

Man, I’ve got it bad. But what’s the use in fighting something that’s meant to be? Let’s fall in love!

Our next date? A delicious rendezvous after Easter dinner.

(Adapted from Martha Stewart and Thursday Night Smackdown)

For the crust:

-4 Tbsp. melted butter, plus more for the pan
-2/3 c. roasted, shelled pistachios (salted is OK)
-5 oz. of butter cookies (I used German Butterkeks, which are not as oily as shortbread)
-1/4 c. sugar (I used raw/demerera)

For the filling:

-1/2 c. fresh-squeezed lime juice (preferably key lime juice, or the juice of 5-6 regular limes)
-2 egg yolks
-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

-6 Tbsp. best-quality raspberry jam (I used Den Gamle)

1.  Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-in. springform pan or pie plate with butter. (An 8×8-in. square pan would also work.)

2.  In a blender or food processor, finely grind the cookies and pistachios.  In a medium bowl, mix with the melted butter and 1/4 c. sugar using your hands.

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I discovered a green deficiency in my wardrobe this morning and decided to make an Irish-themed cake to avoid the St. Patty’s pinching-vigilantes.  A couple friends were coming over for tea shortly, so I selected the cake on my friend Katty’s blog, which looked easy and festive.

After a quick mix in one bowl (love that!), my kitchen filled with the best aroma in the world: baking chocolate.  As the cake cooled, I whipped up an addictive batch of Bailey’s-spiked cream cheese glaze (which I was sorely tempted to dye bright green).  The deep chocolate cake baked up fluffy and boxed-mix-perfect, while the Bailey’s icing pushed it over the edge into venial sin.

If you’re looking for a delicious way to commemorate the holiday, you can hardly do better than combining Guinness, chocolate, Bailey’s, coffee, and cream cheese. Granted, binge-drinking frat boys would probably contend otherwise.

In any case, happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(Adapted from Katty’s Kitchen)

Guinness Chocolate Cake

-1/2 c. raw (demerera) sugar (or sub. white sugar)
-1/2 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
-scant 1 c. all-purpose flour
-scant 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
-3/4 tsp. baking powder
-3/4 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. instant coffee or instant espresso granules, optional (or sub. 1/4 c. strong brewed coffee for 1/4 c. of the milk)
-1 egg
-1/2 c. milk
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 tsp. Bailey’s liqueur
-1/2 c. Guinness (full disclosure: I successfully substituted dark German beer,  because I couldn’t find Guinness at my local market.  St. Patty promptly rolled in his grave.)

1. Grease and flour (or use cocoa powder) an 8×8-in. square or 8-in. round pan. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (except for the instant coffee).

3. Pour the Guinness into a small saucepan and add the instant coffee granules, if using. Bring just to a boil.

4. Stir the egg, milk, oil, Bailey’s, and vanilla extract into the dry mixture. Gradually whisk in the Guinness-coffee mixture.  The batter will be somewhat thin.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan (I used a springform) and bake on the middle rack for 30-35 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

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I’m not much for hyperbole when it comes to describing recipes.  In fact, I get annoyed when bloggers talk up their recipes a lot, only to get ho-hum results myself.  So it means something when I feel no hesitation calling these some of the best brownies you’ll ever make.  My friends Nat and Jen brought these to a party a few months ago, and the crowd went wild.

If you love fudge brownies, these babies are for you.  They’re moist, rich, and deep, dark chocolatey.  Blondie lovers, look elsewhere.  This is some serious chocolate.  And by the way, some toasted walnuts would not be a crime here. Just don’t delay in making these!

Adapted from Joy of Baking

-5 oz. (140 g.) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 70% chocolate)
-1/2 c. (1 stick/113 g.) butter
-2 Tbsp. (15 g.) cocoa powder
-1 c. (200 g.) sugar (raw sugar OK)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-3 large eggs, room temperature
-3/4 c. (95 g.) all-purpose flour*
-1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8×8-in. square or 9-in. round pan.

2. In a medium metal bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pot of simmering water.

3. Whisk until completely melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and sugar until fully combined.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

5. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Do not overmix.

6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack for 28-35 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, with just a little batter and a few crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake.

7. Cool 10 min. before cutting.

*This recipe adapts well for those avoiding gluten. Just substitute an equal amount of gluten-free “all purpose” flour. Mine was a combination of rice flour, cornstarch, and potato flour. I honestly could not tell the difference.

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Guess how these cookies got their name?

First, I started making them at 10PM, only to realize that I was out of eggs and short on chocolate, thus requiring a run to the corner store.  Second, I’d forgotten to factor in the one-hour chilling time for the dough.  They were finally done around 12:30AM.  But hey, I’d waited six months to finally make these—what was a few hours?

Americans ex-pats typically crave strange, hard-to-find things like Kraft Blue Box, chipotle peppers, cream of mushroom soup, and Saltines. Chocolate chip cookies are another doozy. Good luck finding any of the essential ingredients in Germany: brown sugar, chocolate chips, or vanilla extract.  I hadn’t had much luck.

brown gold…

But then my friend, Liza, brought me back a bag of fancy chocolate chips from her last trip to the U.S.  A plan was hatched. My dad good-naturedly agreed to haul a 2-lb. bag of brown sugar in his luggage at Christmastime.  And the vanilla extract problem I solved by macerating a vanilla bean in a mini bottle of vodka:

Finally, it was cookie time! I started with a recipe billed as no less than “The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World.”  Although I might not go quite that far, if you like a chewy cookie…these were totally worth the wait!

(Makes 22-23 medium cookies)

-1 1/2 c. flour
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2  tsp. salt
-1/2 c.  (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly colder than room temperature
-1/2 c. sugar
-3/4 c. tightly packed light brown sugar (I used dark but recommend light)
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
-7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
-1/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted (optional) (more…)

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I won’t say too much about these bars, other than that they are delicious.  You already know that soft, fluffy baked goods drizzled with cream cheese icing are my Kryptonite.  The next time you have a couple of overripe bananas, you know what to do.

Just don’t come knocking.

You can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-in. pan.

-2 eggs, room temperature
-1/2 c. granulated sugar
-1/3 c. raw sugar
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-8-oz. bananas (weighed after peeling—about 1 1/2 medium bananas), mashed
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 c. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda (more…)

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“Did a bad, bad thing…”

Every single time I think about these pumpkin bars, the chorus from that Chris Isaak song runs through my head.  I’m not kidding.

Don’t make these.

You won’t be able to stop yourself.  One minute you’re pulling them out of the oven, and the next thing you know, you’re left covered in orange crumbs, your fingers sticky with cream cheese icing, wondering what the hell just happened.

Try to eat just one.

Paula Deen gets credit for this recipe, which makes perfect sense when you consider her other devious creations.  I decided to lighten these pumpkin bars up with some yogurt in place of half the oil.  The substitution worked perfectly, and I’m certain you’ll love their moist quick-bread texture.  I tweaked Paula’s recipe, using fresh pumpkin, fresh ginger, and some raw sugar, but feel free to check out the original recipe, too.

Be strong!  (Next up will be a healthy, savory vegetarian main dish to atone for these sins.)

You hedonists can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-in. pan.

-2 eggs, room temperature
-1/2 c. granulated sugar
-1/3 c. raw sugar
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-8-oz. homemade pumpkin puree or canned Libby’s pumpkin puree (NOT
pumpkin pie filling)
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 c. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (or 1/4 tsp. dried ginger)
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda

Making pumpkin purée is almost as easy as opening a can… (more…)

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Apple cake

This lovely cake comes from Smitten Kitchen, a very famous food blog with beautiful photos and recipes that sometimes work.  I approached this recipe with a fair dose of skepticism (not to mention, blog envy) and about 2 lbs. of apples.  And I’m so glad I did.  After a few recent baking failures (including this week’s zucchini bread with raspberries; trust me—don’t go there), my baker’s ego was a little tender.  So imagine my delight when my husband’s coworker came over for coffee and remarked, “Ach, so this is the famous apple cake your husband talks so much about!”

apple cake side view

I could have kissed her right there. Instead, I made a mental note to add this cake to the short list of go-to recipes for dummies (i.e., me). (more…)

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I had a chocolate craving the other night, but since there was only hot chocolate mix in the house (pursuant to the theory: if you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it), I made cookies instead.  Oatmeal raisin cookies, in fact.  I’m more of a chocolate chip girl, but that wasn’t possible, given the current Schoko-drought.

I have freely admitted that baking is not my forte.  As per usual, I didn’t have all the ingredients the recipe called for.  Brown sugar (the soft, molasses-enriched stuff) just doesn’t exist in Germany.  I was also thinking about tweaking a recipe I’d never made, which doesn’t usually bode well.

Fortunately, the cookie gods smiled upon me, and the cookies came out great—chewy, soft, and delicious—despite my meddling and substituting.  Even without chocolate, they were satisfying.  (Especially for breakfast the following morning.)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

625 commenters can’t be wrong—this is a great recipe.  I’m even tempted to call it foolproof. 🙂  Here’s my take on the classic: (more…)

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For most of August and September, Germany was awash in adorable Italian prune plums, known to Brits as “damsons” and to Germans as Zwetschke (or Zwetschge, depending).  Don’t you just want to pinch their chubby cheeks?

damson italian prune plums

Roughly half to two-thirds the size of regular red plums, these purple beaut’s were selling for 1.99/kilo (2.2 lbs.) at the height of summer.  And the bakeries in Berlin were going wild with plum Kuchen, plum tarts, plum pockets, and plum strudel.  Not to be outdone, I bought a kilo of my own and began scheming.

An admittedly novice baker (and by “novice” I mean: stubborn, refuses to measure things properly, substitutes ingredients at will), I didn’t get much further than my old standby—plum cake.  This cake never fails me, and it looks much more impressive than it has any right to.  Ina Garten calls this “Plum Cake Tatin”; I call it perfect.  (And by “perfect” I mean:  despite my best efforts, I never manage to burn it, cause it to fall, or leave half of it clinging to the pan.  Oh, and it tastes terrific, too.)

plum upside down cake

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bananaToday I found a great food blog while surfing the internets and using the google.  This easy recipe for banana bars especially caught my eye—probably because living abroad makes me homesick for good, simple American cooking.  Don’t these sound devilish?

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I’ll have to break it out when I have a couple overripe bananas to part with.  Thanks to Kristen of Dine & Dish for sharing.

Bars:

-1/2 c. butter
-2 c. sugar
-3 eggs
-1 1/2 c. mashed, ripe bananas (approx. 2 large)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 c. flour
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 pinch salt

Frosting:

-1/2 c. butter
-8 oz. cream cheese
-4 c. confectioners’ sugar
-2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Beat together wet ingredients.
2. Combine dry ingredients and stire into creamed mixture.
3. Spread in a greased 15×10×1-in. pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

For frosting: cream together butter and cream cheese, gradually stirring in sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooled bars.

Image via Dried Fruit Guy

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great-canadian-heinz-ketchup-cake-with-slice-300x200

Credit: Canadian Family

This is just the weirdest thing ever.  I found this recipe for ketchup cake via a friend of a friend’s twitter (how web 2.0 am I?).  The whole concept borderline grosses me out,  but it’s also intriguing.  Red velvet cake with a Great Northern makeover.  Maybe ketchup is to spice cake what mayonnaise is to chocolate cake—a strange bedfellow, but surprisingly delicious.  Just imagine if Americans were to take a tip from the Canucks and embrace ketchup cake—and universal health care!  For anyone who wants to give it a try, here’s the recipe reprinted from Heinz:

-2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

-2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder

-1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) cinnamon

-1 tsp (5 mL)baking soda

-1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg

-1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger

-1/2 cup (125 mL) Heinz Tomato Ketchup

-1/2 cup (125 mL) water

-2 tbsp (30 mL) red food colouring

-3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, softened

-1 1/2 cups (375 mL) packed dark brown sugar

-2 eggs

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Oh, hello there.  Yes: You.  Would you like a slice?

lifted slice of cake

Well, yes, I supposed it is a bit decadent; two sticks of butter will do that.  But it also contains fruit!  Lemons!  Strive for five!

Still not sold?  How about a closer look:

whole cake

What if I told you this was the moistest, heartiest lemon cake you’ve had in a long while?  That it’s brushed with a simple syrup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and sugar?  That the yogurt gives it tang? Or that that it tastes even better after sitting overnight?

img_0294

Just a sliver?  Oh, alright…

cake slice

Too big? My hand must have slipped.  You can thank me later.

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chocolate-pudding 

I love recipes that are handed down in families.  My friend, Stephanie, whips up a batch of this decadent chocolate pudding anytime she wants to pamper someone special.  The recipe came from her grandmother, who (as you’ll see by the end of the recipe, transcribed from her recipe card) is quite the funny lady. 

This is a little labor-intensive with all the stirring, but I like to think that earns the cook a second helping. 😉

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