Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

In my household, Father’s Day has always been about family and simplicity.  We kids have grown and left the nest, but we always make it back to River Edge on the third Sunday in June to spend the day with dad.  For as long as I can remember, my dad has enjoyed nothing more than a relaxing afternoon with his three daughters and for that we make an extra effort to be all present.

Instead of ties we give hugs, and humorous cards are more welcome than the latest gadget or book about the history of baseball.  We know that our appreciation means more to him than anything we could buy, which is why my gift to dad this holiday will be a warm chocolate chip coffee cake baked with love.
I found this recipe while browsing through those addicting food blogs and thought it was perfect for a Sunday brunch.  I was right.  The second I put this in the oven the entire house was overcome by the delicious smell of brown sugar and cinnamon.  What could be more inviting?

I recommend this dish for the upcoming holiday or any get-together you are
hosting.  This cake is great for breakfast, as a snack or dessert.  Pair it with coffee, tea or a big glass of milk and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes
The mention of carrot cake usually brings up memories of a moist, spicy cake laden with rich and tangy cream cheese frosting – not of chocolate. But just as zucchini can pair well with chocolate in a cake or quick bread, so can shredded carrots. These Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes are a chocolaty variation on my regular carrot cake cupcake recipe. The cupcakes get a good dose of chocolate flavor from cocoa powder that is incorporated into the batter, and the result is a moist cupcake with a hint of spice and a good amount of chocolate in every bite.
This cupcake recipe uses cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom as its main spices, though they are not strong enough to dominate the chocolate flavor. Cinnamon and nutmeg are found in many carrot cake recipes, while cardamom is a bit less common. Cardamom, however, goes very well with chocolate and draws out some of the natural sweetness of the shredded carrots, so it works out perfectly in this recipe. The cocoa powder (both natural and dutch process will work; I typically use a dutch process cocoa) really does add a lot of chocolate flavor and gives a bittersweet, dark chocolate note. If you want even more chocolate, you can stir in some mini chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate along with the shredded carrots.
You’ll get plenty of additional chocolate if you top these off with this Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, however. It wouldn’t be quite right to have carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting. This chocolaty frosting also has a deep cocoa flavor to it, but it still retains that rich and tangy flavor that a plain cream cheese frosting has. You can opt for a vanilla frosting by omitting the cocoa powder and adding a little bit of extra confectioners’ sugar, too.

Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in melted butter, milk and vanilla extract. Gradually stir in flour mixture until only a few streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in shredded carrots and mini chocolate chips, if using, then divide batter evenly into prepared muffin pan.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Makes 12
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
4 tbsp butter, softened
4-oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 – 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Beat together butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Beat in cocoa powder, milk and vanilla extract, then gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick, creamy and smooth.
If desired, set aside about 1/3 cup of icing before cocoa is added to make mini carrot decorations, as described here.


vegan chocolate cupcakes

vegan chocolate cupcakes with chai buttercream


I’m so glad y’all liked the pictures! I’m pretty convinced Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. On top of the photos, we also shot a short time lapse video, which I’ll post this afternoon.
But first, let’s talk birthday cake.

I’m blessed that I got to enjoy two! The first one was made by Ashley and was an absolutely diiiiiivine chocolate mint cake. I enjoyed it thoroughly after a small pizza get together with some friends last Thursday night.
The second cake I enjoyed were these cupcakes that I made to take with us to Tahoe.  Last week at the yoga studio, I experienced the most divine vegan chocolate cake with chai buttercream from a gluten-free bakery in town and ever since then I’ve been craving another slice of that cake.
So Friday afternoon before we left, I did what any cakeaholic would do on the eve of her 26th year.
I took matters into my own hands.

The chocolate cake hails from a tried and true recipe I’ve been making for years. And for the buttercream, I steeped a very strong (teeny tiny) cup of chai tea to infuse my billowy frosting with. The end result was a creamy, slightly spicy, perfect buttercream that paired wonderfully with the rich chocolate cake.

Ridiculous. I’m shocked they even lasted the car ride up.
Well, I might have eaten one in the car.

And another when we got there.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream
makes 10 cupcakes
chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World <—love
Print this recipe!
for cupcakes–
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
for frosting–
1 stick earth balance buttery spread (1/2 cup)
about 3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 chai teabags
2 T boiling water
2 T soy milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the vinegar with the soy milk and let sit for five minutes.
Whisk together the soy milk/vinegar, canola oil, sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add wet to dry and mix until combined.
Pour batter into greased cupcake molds and bake for 25 minutes, or until springy. Let cool completely before frosting.
While cupcakes are cooling, beat the earth balance until soft. Brew the tea in the two tablespoons of boiling water and let sit for ten minutes to steep. Then, add the soy milk. Add that mixture, plus the powdered sugar and cinnamon to the earth balance and continue to beat for 10 minutes until very light and fluffy.
Frost cooled cupcakes using this method or with a pastry bag and large star tip.
1 hour


Monday, May 30, 2011

Chocolate and Bacon Maple Cupcakes

baconchocolatecupcake Chocolate and Bacon Maple Cupcakes

Downtown Boulder, Colorado has become known for great little eateries, bookstores and coffee houses.  In fact, in 2010 the town was deemed the best Foodie town in the US by Bon Appetit Magazine. And considering the town is usually named one of America’s fittest cities by various media publications, many of these local boutique shops and restaurants are organic or health-conscious.  Along comes Tee and Cakes, a refreshing and decadent change to compliment the earthy cuisine in Boulder.  This shop is for the most sophisticated sweet tooth who has no fear of trying the most unique gourmet desserts. The atmosphere is cheery and as the name suggests, one can even buy a cupcake themed t-shirt while sipping coffee and enjoying cake.  One of the owners is a graphic artist who has designed a great selection of “sweet” apparel.
Since its opening, Tee and Cakes has become most famous for its superb selection of cupcakes and custom cakes for special events.  The custom cakes are quite simply … works of art.  Executive Pastry Chef and owner, Kim Boos delivers stunning designs that are not only whimsical and one-of-a-kind, but taste like heaven.  I know this first hand because I always buy my cakes from Tee and Cakes.

But if you really want something special, you must try their famous Chocolate and Bacon Maple Cupcakes.  These cupcakes have received regional and national attention as being one of the most unique and decadent cupcakes … ever!!  Even Food Network was impressed and featured this recipe on an episode of Unwrapped! So, if you’re ever in Boulder … do yourself a favor and swing by Tee and Cakes.  And if not, give this recipe a try and watch even those skeptics who say “bacon and chocolate?” beg you for the recipe.

Chocolate and Bacon Maple Cupcakes
Maple Cake Recipe
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 T Maple Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pans with your choice of cupcake liners. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in maple extract. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
Using a scoop fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Bake until golden and cool.
Ganache Recipe
  • 1 pound Semisweet Chocolate chopped or Chocolate Chips
  • 2 cups heavy Cream
  • Pinch of Salt
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cream to a full boil; turn off heat. Add chocolate, and swirl pan to completely cover with cream. Slowly whisk mixture until smooth. To get silky smooth ganache it takes longer to mix than you think! Add salt; stir until combined. Transfer to a clean bowl and let chill overnight or until spreadable.
When cupcakes have cooled spread some ganache on top. Chill for a minute or two. While chilling cook up some of your favorite bacon however you like it. Brian likes his chewy and Kim likes hers crunchy and toasted.
Chop in pieces and top the cupcakes and … voila!

Chocolate truffles

Chocolate truffles


Chocolate is such a personal thing. I almost feel the same with chocolate as I do with perfume. I would hesitate to offer someone chocolate (as perfume) unless I knew exactly what they liked.
By the way, have you heard of  Le Whif? The idea here is to sniff chocolate scent, getting a high from it minus the calories.
In any case, this is  made with Callebaud, which is my favorite maker with  a touch of lime zest.
INGREDIENTS: For 8 truffles (can double or triple the recipe)
  • 2 ounces of whipping cream
  • 100 g. or 3.4 ounces of Callebaud dark semi-sweet
  • 1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Grate the chocolate into slivers with a knife. Set aside.
  2. Heat the cream to the boiling point; remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir till the chocolate melts completely. Add the butter and stir to melt. Add the grated lime zest and stir to combine.
  3. Pour into a greased small cube-shaped container. Cover with wrap and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours; remove from the fridge and unmold with a knife; cut into small squares, sprinkle with cocoa powder on all sides and serve.

This post is part of a truffle mania challenge in which some chocolate loving foodies are bringing their own personal touch to truffles on May 30, 2011.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes


I’m totally a good person to surprise.
If you tell me that you’re stuck in Seattle working all weekend, and you can’t come down for my birthday,  I’ll believe you.  I’ll believe you, because I love you and you’re not a liar.
If you tell me that you’re working away in Phoenix, and you simple can’t get away to celebrate my birthday,  I’ll believe you.  I’ll believe you, because I love you and you’re not a liar.
You’re going out of town to visit our grandparents?  Really?  You have to go this weekend when you knew it was my birthday?  Um… ok.  It must be important.  Go on.  I believe you.  yadda yadda yadda… you’re not a liar.
This birthday.  Oh man! I was hit with surprise, after surprise, after surprise.
birthday collage

Surprise!  Jill dyed her hair pink and you’re about to eat that mega doughnut… and why the heck is that kid screaming?
Surprise!  Your sister flew down from Seattle just to drink margaritas with you for the day!  Ps.  I love you, but I didn’t get a good picture of you on your visit down.  Pps.  I’m sorry.
Surprise!  Your mom and dad made you a cake!
Surprise!  Your family isn’t out of town!  They’re taking you to dinner… silly.  And there’s ice cream!
Surprise!  We’re at Disneyland.
Surprise!  Space Mountain is broken. Twice.  …Look at you standing in line like a numb-skull.
Surprise!  A very special boy  flew in from Phoenix to sit on your doorstep with wine and flowers… But… surprise! You didn’t get home until super late… because you’re a work-a-holic… and he was blowing up your phone… but you didn’t know he was on your doorstep or you totally would have gotten home sooner… or you would have at least straightened up your apartment… and done a load of laundry… and washed your hair… and wait,  you really hope you flushed the toilet.

birthday collage

Surprise!  Dinner with friends tastes AWESOME.
Surprise!  Welcome to caketown!
Surprise!  Pretzels!!  Thank you, Grande.
Surprise!  Ethan made you hot dogs out of cake!
Surprise!  Drink this beer and shove all of these jelly beans in your mouth.  Thank you, Melissa!


Surprise!  Cupcakes at midnight.
Like… the best/most ridiculous/ stupidly decadent cupcakes… at midnight.


Allow me to tell you about these cupcakes.  You might want to sit down.  You’re probably already sitting down… unless you’re one of those people that has a standing up desk situation.  You’re the future.  Look at you… showing off and being the future.
These cupcakes are ridiculous.  I apologize.


Soft chocolate cupcakes baked up and cooled.
A small hole is carved out of the top of the cupcake.  A walnut sized ball of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie dough is placed in the center of the cupcake.
Cupcake is topped with glossy meringue frosting.  Cupcakes are torched under the broiler… toasting the marshmallow frosting.
What I’m trying to tell you is that I’ve made the best cupcake ever.  Cake meets cookie dough meets toasted marshmallows.


These are, most definitely, special occasion cupcakes.  Don’t go making these, willy-nilly, letting them sit around the house.  You’ll eat them for breakfast.  You’ll eat them at midnight.  You’ll think about them all day long.
Also… if you want to be the most popular person anywhere… bring these.  Take all the credit for the cake/dough/marshmallow combination.  That’s why I do this… to make you look great!

Thank you to every one of you who came here to wish me a happy birthday.  Really.  From the inside of my heart I thank you, I like you, and I appreciate you.  I feel like we’re friends… because we are.
Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
cupcakes from Organic and Chic
meringue from Take a Megabite
Print this Recipe!

For the Cupcakes:
(if you don’t want to use all organic ingredients… this recipe will still turn out wonderfully)
2 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour
2 cups organic cane sugar
1 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
2/3 cup organic canola oil
2 teaspoons organic white vinegar
2 cups cold water

For the Cookie Dough Balls:
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (i know we’re not baking them, it’s for flavor)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (if you have a nut allergy, 2 tablespoons of yogurt will work as a binder as well)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

For the Meringue:
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
large pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.  Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar.
Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix.  The mixture will be quite wet, but that’s ok.
Pour the batter until the cups are two thirds full and place in the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool before topping with cookie dough ball.

For the Cookie Dough Balls:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or with a large bowl and a wooden spoon) cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes in the machine.  Beat in peanut butter (or yogurt if using) along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Spoon a scant tablespoons size amount of dough in your hand.  Roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet.  Make 24 little cookie dough balls, and refrigerate until ready to top the cupcakes.

For the Meringue:
In a large pot, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer.
In a large, heat-proof bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and salt.  The mixture will be grainy, because of the sugar.
Place bowl over simmering water and whisk as it heats.  The sugar will dissolve after about 5 minutes.  Keep and eye on the mixture, it shouldn’t get warm enough to cook the eggs.  Yucky.
Transfer the egg white and sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  With a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, on high, until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes)  The mixture will be fluffy and glossy and look like melted marshmallows.  It’ll be sticky too.  Beat in the vanilla extract last.   Cover, and set aside until ready to frost cupcakes.

To Assemble Cupcakes:
Use a small paring knife to cut a 3/4-inch whole out of the top/center of the cupcakes.  Don’t cut the whole center of the cupcake out… just make a little hole for the dough ball to rest without rolling off.
Place dough balls on top of cupcakes.
Place meringue frosting in a pastry bag (or large Ziplock bag) fitted with a medium-large tip.  Use your instincts for the size of the tip.  Any size (star or round) medium tip will do for frosting these cupcakes.  Pipe frosting around the edges of the cupcake and over the dough ball in a circular motion.  Frost all cupcakes.
Turn on oven broiler.  Yea… it’s about to get real.
Place 12 cupcakes on a baking sheet.  Place cupcakes under the broiler for about 1 minute.  Don’t even close the broiler door.  Keep an eye on them as they toast.  You may need to remove the cupcakes and rotate the pan to ensure that they cook evenly.  Once toasted, remove cupcakes, and toast the remaining 12 in the same fashion.
Serve cupcakes!
Cupcakes will last, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.  They’re delicious.