Posts Tagged ‘moist’

Chocolate Cake for Father’s Day

June 21, 2011

Perfectly Moist Chocolate Cake

My husband got to pick whatever he wanted for dessert on Father’s Day. The top two choices were rhubarb pie, and chocolate cake. The rhubarb in our back yard is thriving so I was a little surprised that he chose cake over pie, but I wasn’t disappointed. We haven’t had chocolate cake in a while and it sounded good to me too.

It was just the two of us so I didn’t want a big cake. I wanted to try a new recipe but I wasn’t looking for something over the top. I knew my husband would be happiest with something simple, tasty and homemade. I found the perfect recipe at Cookie Madness. Anna frequently makes small batch desserts and has great lists of favorites so I often turn to her blog to find recipes instead of opening up one of my many cookbooks.

This cake is baked in an eight inch square pan. A really nice size for a small family. It’s made with mayonnaise which makes the cake very moist. The depth of the chocolate was just right, and it’s super easy to make. You can stir it up with a spoon which is a real plus! We chose vanilla frosting for the cake since we can’t remember the last time we had vanilla frosting on chocolate cake. We were both happy with the frosting too. It is super smooth and isn’t too sweet with the cake.

I don’t know if it made a difference in taste or not because I’d have to do a tasting side by side, but for the first time ever I bought Ghiradelli natural cocoa powder to use in the cake. Hershey’s is the natural cocoa you’ll usually find in my cupboard, but the Ghiradelli seems really good. The thing that was particularly noticeable about the Ghiradelli cocoa is how perfectly smooth it is. There wasn’t a lump to be found!

If you’re looking for a quick, easy to make, moist chocolate cake, I highly recommend that you give this recipe a try.

Be sure to check out the original post where Anna talked about the cake, and made a scrumptious looking chocolate sour cream frosting instead of vanilla.

Troy Chocolate Cake (Adapted with permission from Cookie Madness)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups lukewarm water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. Use a spoon to combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients and the water to the mayonnaise mixture. Beat until well blended. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting

Easy Vanilla Frosting

5 T softened butter
1 1/4 c. (5 oz.) powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 T cream
1 t vanilla

Using a hand held mixer, beat the softened butter until very smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until moistened with the butter. Beat in the cream and vanilla and continue beating until light and fluffy. Spread on all sides of cooled cake.


Carrot Bread

April 6, 2011


Last night after dinner I wanted to bake. It wasn’t that I wanted a specific food, I just wanted to bake. The problem was that without wanting something specific it was difficult to settle on a recipe. Another hurdle was finding a recipe that used ingredients that I had on hand.  The final factor was I didn’t want three dozen cookies or an entire cake. I decided to log onto Cookie Madness to see if anything would grab me. The first thing I did was go to the section “Scaled Down Recipes”.  This carrot bread recipe was the first recipe that I saw and I had all the ingredients!

The bread is baked in two 3″x5″ loaf pans.  Just perfect for a household of two! The batter rises to make a nice dome, and the top has just a bit of crust. The slight crustiness might be my favorite part of the bread. Nuts, carrots, and spices on the moist inside. What’s not to like?

No mixer is required, but you do have to grate some carrots. Otherwise this comes together really fast. I chose not to make the icing and I don’t really think it needs it unless you’re looking for more of a carrot cake like experience. This worked well for me since I wasn’t looking for something super sweet.

You can find the recipe here.

Three more loaves!

January 6, 2009

_dsc001612631The loaf of Almost No Knead Bread that I made this weekend went so fast that I had to make more. My husband and son wanted another plain loaf while I was ready for a variation.  The third loaf was for our favorite neighbors. These are the neighbors who use their gigantic snowblower to clear the end of our driveway of the big, heavy piles of snow the plows leave behind. You’ve got to love neighbors like that, and bake for them from time to time. They also scored a jar of my husband’s homemade raspberry freezer jam.

When these loaves were ready to be baked I was too tired to even think about being up so late so I stuck them in the refrigerator where they sat for almost eighteen hours. When I was ready to bake them I took them out, shaped them and let them come to room temperature before baking them as directed.

The loaf on the right has 1/2 c. toasted walnuts, and 1/2 c. dried cranberries added to the mix. I really like this variation and can’t wait to try a piece toasted.

My apologies for the photos. They were taken after dark so I didn’t have natural light to work with.

Update: More apologies. I just discovered that the link I provided to for the Almost No Knead Bread is available to members only. I truly thought it was one of CI’s free recipe/video links. I am loathe to violate anyone’s copyright so I won’t be posting the recipe. I will tell you that variations of this recipe abound on the Internet. I prefer the version that uses mildly flavored beer, white vinegar and water. Instant yeast, also known as bread machine yeast, or rapid rise yeast is the leavener you want to use, not active dry yeast. A heavy enameled dutch oven works best for this. My Le Creuset dutch oven has repeatedly performed well for this task. Mine is oval and my loaves don’t turn out oddly shaped. You don’t need any fancy flours. Unbleached all purpose works well here.

The cranberry walnut version toasted up nicely.

Toasted cranberry walnut bread with a melting piece of butter

Toasted cranberry walnut bread with a melting piece of butter

Almost No Knead Bread

January 3, 2009
Almost No Knead Bread

Almost No Knead Bread

The February 2008 issue of Cook’s Illustrated features the recipe for this bread. I had heard a good friend rave about no knead bread and tried the New York Times version and while I loved the crust, I wasn’t impressed with the flavor. Leave it to the folks at Cook’s Illustrated to find a solution. This bread is simple,  has good flavor, and the crust is perfect.

Usually this bread has great holes in it, but this time the holes were not as impressive as usual. Something unusual happened when I took the bread out of the oven. There were snapping and crackling sounds that I don’t remember ever happening before. I believe some of the cracks on the outside of the loaf occurred after I took it out of the oven. I couldn’t help but think of Rice Krispies and their snap, crackle, and pop, but this was much louder. It could be heard across the room!

I used Fat Tire Ale for the beer. It’s what I had in the refrigerator. I don’t recall what kind of beer I’ve used in the past, but maybe the beer has an impact on the holes in the bread? No matter, it’s good tasting bread, with a great crust, and is a very attractive loaf.

This recipe has been posted all over the Internet and since the folks at Cook’s Illustrated were kind enough to provide the recipe for free on their site I’m going to provide a link directly to them for their Almost No Knead Bread

Variations for the bread abound, but we like this one so much that I’ve never felt the need to change it up. The cranberry-pecan version is quite tempting though!