All posts tagged cake

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

Published January 13, 2014 by jenmatteson

The final piece to the cooking-dinner party I led a few weeks ago – dessert!   You know I’m a chocolate girl, so this was absolutely a fantastic ending to a wonderful dinner.  To recap, we started with zucchini fritters, had an arugula and apple salad with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, had a wonderful time making homemade pasta and swiss chard ravioli in a smoked onion tomato sauce, and ended with this fabulous lava cake.  Here are a few quick pics from their party.

Getting dessert ready

Jessica and Janell working on dessert.

Melting chocolate for dessert

Liz melting the chocolate for dessert.

Rolling out and filling pasta

Amanda paved the road for rolling out the pasta and moved on to filling raviolis.

Ladies Night

All the ladies, sitting down to their well deserved meal!

But back to what you probably came here for, dessert.  Mmmmmmm 😛

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

The cake would be wonderful with ice cream or even confectioners’ sugar, but I thought the berries were perfect.  The cake itself isn’t very sweet, so the berries add not only a fresh, bright flavor, but a light sweetness.  You can really use any mix of berries, and frozen would be great and inexpensive, too!  The cake batter itself is the easy part, baking it to a point where it’s runny in the middle and cake on the outside is the art.  My husby is so precious – he didn’t realize the ‘lava’ part of the cake was just undercooked batter, and thought I injected the cake with something to make it runny.  Isn’t that cute?

Brandy Macerated Berries

You just have to keep your eye on the cakes while they cook – every oven is different, and times will vary based on the shape and depth of your ramekins.  The best time to take them out is when the sides are completely cooked, and the middle of the top (which will become the bottom) still looks uncooked, but is in fact somewhat firm to the light touch.  Not that it doesn’t taste good if you cook it all the way, but what’s a lava cake without the lava?

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

Source: Adapted from St. Francis/Chef David Bush
Servings: 6


5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
5 ounces (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon brandy
oil or butter for coating ramekins
1 pint mixed berries (such as raspberries and blackberries)


1.  Pour about ¾-inch water in the bottom of a double boiler, making certain top pan will not touch water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Chop bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of double boiler with butter and place over boiling water.  Stir occasionally with a rubber spatula until chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Sift cornstarch and sugar into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 tbsp brandy, then whisk egg mixture into the cornstarch-sugar mixture all at once.  Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture. Cover and chill batter at least 2 hours, or overnight, before using.

3. In a small bowl, combine berries with ¼ cup brandy and sprinkle with sugar.  Gently mash the berries with the back of a fork and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil (or butter and flour) six 6-ounce ramekins or small soufflé dishes. Place ½ cup batter in each ramekin until barely risen and cracked on top, 10 to 14 minutes. Cool about 8 minutes before serving. Unmold onto plates and spoon berries on top of each.  You could also serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with, or instead of berries.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Published January 27, 2013 by jenmatteson

From some reason, Nate thinks that red velvet is my favorite cake ever.  Guess what?  It isn’t.  I think it might be his.  It’s quite funny whenever we see it somewhere or on a menu, he says, “Red velvet cake, honey!  You love that!  Do you want to get some?”  To be fair, I think he thinks this because of a date we had a few years ago, which happened to be Cinco de Mayo.  We didn’t really plan for it, but since it was, we went to a little Mexican place in St. Paul that I like.  It’s somewhat close to actual Mexican food, not super Americanized Mexican food.  We got free tequilla shots for each drink we ordered!  I guess that’s not such a positive thing, seeing as though I’m not really a tequilla fan, but hey, free shots?  Okay.  Anyway, after dinner, we went to a nearby restaurant to have dessert and a bottle of wine.  Both were amazing, but the red velvet cake?  Wow.  It was so good.  I couldn’t stop talking about how I was having a love affair with it!  So, again, to his credit, he continues to think it’s my favorite.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Anyway, red velvet is on my 30 Before 30 list, and I really need to get crackin’ on that list if I want to finish it up before my birthday (July).  Lots of seafood left after this – I’m surly not complaining!  I decided to make mini cupcakes for a ladies night at my house.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work, got everything on my list and headed home.  After getting in some comfy clothes, I went to work.  When I took out my mini muffin pan, I quickly realized that I forgot to get cupcake wrappers.  UGH.  I was already in my pjs, made myself a cocktail and was not about to go out in the below zero cold again just to get them.  So I went without.  Not like it’s that big of a deal, but I feel like the outside would have been a bit more soft had I used them.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

When looking for recipes, I first consulted my friends on my What’s Cooking board. I was directed to The Way the Cookie Crumbles for a red velvet cake comparison.  My goodness, this was quite an extensive comparison.  I can’t imagine how many cupcakes she must have had in her house after trying them all!  After reading through, I settled on her adapted recipe from her favorite.  I did half the entire recipe, and I have to remind you that I’m not a baker, therefore, not a very good decorator.  I must say, the recipe was not disappointing in the least!  The cake was light and fluffy, with a slight hint of the cocoa powder, and the frosting was tangy and creamy, though not super rich.  Fantastic!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Source: Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Servings: Makes 36 mini cupcakes


For the cake:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp red food coloring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz butter, softened
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar until well combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Prepare muffin tin with a light spray of olive oil, or use muffin wrappers.  Fill tins with about 1 tbsp of batter.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.  Be carefull not to over cook as the cake will lose its moisture and fluffiness.  Turn out onto a wire rake to cool.

4. In bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until well combined.  Add vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.

5. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake.  Refrigerate for 2 hours to set frosting.

Triple Double Chocolate Cake

Published October 23, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’m hoping anyone else who is a blogger might be able to relate to this, but I’ve had this draft post saved since May.  Yes, I am quite aware that it’s the end of October, but I kinda just forgot about this until I sifted through some drafts that I had.  I remember writing the commentary in the post, but saving the recipe for later because it was a bit cumbersome.  Apparently, I forgot.  Anyway, I think this might have been one of the first cakes I’ve ever made that was not from a box, so I’m pretty proud!  I’m also craving the dark chocolate mousse.  It was so delicious!

I was originally planning a French silk pie for Mother’s Day, but we were celebrating my dad’s birthday as well, so I decided a cake was in order.  For as long as I can remember, he’s always had a chocolate cake for his birthdays, so I thought it was a good time to try out a cake recipe from Food and Wine that I’d been holding on to for a while.  The article in Food and Wine actually gives two different kinds of cakes (double chocolate or brown butter), with three different fillings (dark, milk, or white chocolate mousse) and three different frostings (rich or white chocolate buttercream, or hazelnut buttercream) to pick and choose from.  I went with the chocolate cake, with dark chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate buttercream frosting, hence the “triple” in the name.  The double comes from the double layer cake.  I’m so creative, right? 😉  Who says I don’t know anything about basketball?

The finished product was missing something visually, so I decided to add chopped pecans to add a bit of pop to the cake.  It actually looked like something I wanted to try!

I may have mentioned this in the past, but…I’m not a baker.  My cakes still seemed a little undercooked when the allotted 25 minutes was up, as when I inserted my toothpick, it didn’t come out crumbly, or clean, it was wet with cake batter.  So, I baked the cakes a bit longer.  Probably too long, because it ended up being slightly dry.  It still tasted amazing, but would have been much better had I not over-baked the cake 😦 , or so I thought….

Two days later, the cake was sitting out on my counter and I thought I’d bring it into work to share.  I popped the top off and taste tested a little piece (just to make sure it was good enough to share), and it actually tasted better than when we had it on Mother’s Day/my dad’s birthday.  It was so incredibly moist, I almost hacked off a piece for breakfast.  Almost.

My conclusion is that it was better because the cake came right out of the refrigerator on Sunday, and today, it was just sitting out at room temperature.  So guess what, I decided not to bring it into the office 😉

The chocolate mousse was the best part!  The recipe makes a lot, and I had quite a bit leftover.  I even tried to add more to the middle, but didn’t want it oozing out the sides when I put on the second layer.  While I was frosting the cake, I had to have Nate try the mousse right away.  It was so amazing!!  The buttercream frosting was nothing to poo-poo either – it was extremely creamy, but still had a light texture, so the cake wasn’t too chocolatey (is that even a thing?).

Triple Double Chocolate Cake

Source: Food and Wine
Servings: 12


For the Cake:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
unsalted butter, for greasing pans
1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Dark Chocolate Mousse:
1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 tbsp water
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tbsp coffee liqueur
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tbsps, at room temperature
4 oz extra bittersweet chocolate,  melted and cooled

Directions for cake:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp of each flour and cocoa powder.  Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Butter the paper and dust the pans with the flour-cocoa powder mixture.  Tap out any excess.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups of flour with 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat eggs with brown sugar and remaining 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar at medium-high speed until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and slowly add in 1/2 cup oil.  Continue to whisk for 3 minutes.  Beat in melted chocolate and slowly stream in remaining oil, until thoroughly blended.  At a low-speed, mix in buttermilk and vanilla.  Remove bowl from stand and mix in dry ingredients by hand.

4.  Pour cake batter into prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out with few moist crumbs attached.  Cool cakes in pans for 20 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack, removing the parchment paper, and let cool completely.

5. Set one layer of cake on a platter.  Spread the mousse filling on top and cover with second layer of cake.  Frost cake all over with a thin layer of buttercream.  Refrigerate until set, about 5-10 minutes.  Frost cake with remaining buttercream  Refrigerate the cake until the frosting in firm, at least 15 minutes, before serving.

Directions for the dark chocolate mousse:

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand until softened.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl or bowl of stand mixer, beat cream until softly whipped using stand mixer or handheld electric mixer.  Refrigerate until chilled, about 10 minutes.

3. In a small, microwave safe bowl, heat coffee liqueur until hot, about 45 seconds.  Stir in the soften gelatin until dissolved.

4. In another medium bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar and salt at high-speed until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Continue beating and add in coffee liqueur-gelatin liquid and melted chocolate.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to ensure ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Fold in whipped cream using a rubber spatula in two additions.  Scrap mousse into a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Directions for chocolate buttercream:

1.  In a food processor, pulse the sugar until powdery.  Transfer to a medium heat-proof bowl and whisk in egg whites and salt.  Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk gently until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

2. Transfer warm egg white mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk.  Add vanilla and beat at medium-high speed until stiff and glossy, about 8 minutes.  Beat in butter a few pieces at a time, fulling incorporating them before adding more.  The buttercream should be light and fluffy.  If it appears runny at anytime, transfer to the freezer for 5-10 minutes, return to stand mixer and continue.

3. Beat in melted chocolate until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl.  Remove bowl from mixer and beat with a wooden spoon to remove any air bubbles.

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