Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

Dark Chocolate Caken

I absolutely adore this Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake! It is hands down one of the BEST chocolate cakes I’ve ever had, better than a bakery cake and blows away any box mix. The best part? It takes no more effort to make this cake then it does to whip up a boxed cake mix and it’s made with ingredients that everyone has on hand. All you do is combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, add all of the wet ingredients, mix and bake. How easy is that?

I generally like to make this cake as a bundt but it also works great for layer cakes and cupcakes too! Just be sure to adjust the cooking time as needed depending on the baking vessel you are using. You can frost the cake with traditional canned frostings or try using a delicious Swiss Meringue Buttercream . I also love to drizzle it generously with rich chocolate ganache and top it with a few mini chocolate chips. Feel free to be as creative as you like as it’s the perfect “base cake” for almost anything you can think up. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 cup (8 oz) brewed coffee, cold
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add all of the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth, batter will be very thin. Bake 35-40 min or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes then loosen the cake from the pan and turn out onto the wire rack. Cool completely. Dust generously with powdered sugar.

Love the pan? Click the link below to order!

 Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Heritage Bundt Pan

Creamy Dreamy Cheesecake

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What is better than a slice of dense, creamy cheesecake? Literally almost nothing! This is my most favorite cheesecake recipe ever, it’s one that my mother-in-law has been baking since my husband was itty-bitty. She has no recollection of where she first came across this recipe but let me tell you, it is TO DIE FOR. It’s rich, dense and has amazing flavor! The best part? It’s also super easy to make!

This go around I baked my cheesecake with a scrumptious, sugary Graham Cracker Crust but in the past I’ve also used an Oreo™ cookie crust which is equally delicious. When I use the Oreo crust I always cover the whole cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache and than top it with crushed Oreo™ cookies. For this version however, I kept it simple and did just a light coating of ganache on just the top.

Cheesecake is a great dessert because you can make it so many ways from a large cake to small, individual servings. Top it will fudge, fresh fruit, ganache, crushed cookies or anything else you can think of! Some people like to serve cheesecake at room temp but I love it ice cold out of the fridge, I feel that it’s more dense that way and I’m just not a fan of mushy, warm cheesecake. However you choose to serve it jut follow a few simple tips and your cheesecake is sure to be a hit!

  • Pre-bake your crust
  • Always start with room temperature ingredients, this prevents a lumpy batter.
  • Don’t scrimp, always use full fat cream cheese.
  • Add a little starch to help avoid cracking and to make slicing easier.
  • Mix on low and don’t overbeat the batter, incorporating too much air into the batter will ruin the texture of the cheesecake.
  • Use a water bath to create a steamy environment which develops a smooth, creamy cheesecake. To create a water bath, wrap the bottom of a springform pan in tin foil and place the cheesecake directly in a pan of water before putting in the oven. Alternatively, place a pan of water in the oven on the rack below the cheesecake. Both will generate steam while baking.
  • No peeking! Don’t open the oven door while baking.
  • Don’t overbake the cheesecake, take it out when the edges look done and the center is still slightly jiggly.
  • Before leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven, take it out and run a thin offset spatula or knife around the edge to loosen it from the sides of the pan. This will help to prevent cracking as the cheesecake cools and pulls away from the pan.
  • Cool the cheesecake gradually letting in sit in the turned off oven with the door cracked open, then let it cool completely on the stovetop.
  • ALWAYS chill your cheesecake for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  • If the top cracks, don’t panic! A simple sour cream frosting, chocolate ganache, or even fruit will hide all sins.

Ingredients

  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • 5 (8 oz) packs of cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 5 large eggs + 2 yolks
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Pre-bake your crust in a 10″ springform pan for 7-8 minutes at 350ºF. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add the softened, room temperature cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until smooth, about a minute. Add the sugar and flour, mix. Once the dry ingredients have been combined, add in the vanilla, almond, and heavy cream. Mix until smooth then add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low after each addition. Continue to mix on low speed until the batter is shiny and smooth. Grease the sides of the springform pan that holds the crust, pour the batter in and smooth the top.

Place the cheesecake in a water bath and bake at 500ºF for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 250ºF and bake for about an hour or until the edges are baked and the center is slightly jiggly.

Once the cheesecake is done baking turn off the oven and remove the cheesecake, run an offset spatula or knife around the edge to loosen the sides from the pan. Place the cheesecake back in the warm oven (not in the water bath) with the door slightly open and cool for about an hour. Remove from oven and cool completely on the stovetop. Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Enjoy!

Rocky Road Layer Cake

Rocky Road Cake 1

This past Father’s Day I wanted to make my husband an extra special, over the top cake to celebrate so I decided on this amazing Rocky Road Layer Cake. It was every bit as delicious as it looks and it was so decadent too! I found this recipe on the Preppy Kitchen blog, the original recipe along with step-by-step pictures can be found here: Rocky Road Cake .

While no one part of this recipe was what I consider to be hard to make, overall it was a time-consuming cake to pull together. You have to first bake the cakes and cool them, make the filling, make the ganache and then assemble it all. The recipe calls for the layers to be baked in three 6X2″ pans however, I used the Wilton 2105-0112 Easy Layers! 5-Piece Cake Pan Set, 6-Inch and they worked out great. There is enough batter to make a full five layers for this cake however, during assembly I only used four. At that point it was tall enough and adding the last layer would’ve made the cake a little too unstable so I just set the extra layer aside.

Before assembling the cake make sure to trim the tops of the layers so that you have a flat surface. If there is any curvature to the layers the cake will be unbalanced and unstable. Also, do not overfill the layers or you will find that they slip and slide too much which will also effect the structure of the cake. After assembling the layers I ended up with extra ganache and filling which you can store in the fridge to use for another recipe. Once the cake was complete, I immediately placed it into the fridge to chill and set-up. Because it was also hot outside I decided to leave the cake in the fridge until it was served, I found that allowing it to sit at room temperature caused the chocolate and filling to begin to soften.

To keep the layers moist, you can brush each layer with simple syrup before adding the filling. To make a simple syrup simply combine equal parts water and granulated sugar. Warm on the stovetop until the sugar melts and you’re left with a syrup. Cool slightly and then brush directly on the cake using a pastry brush.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 13 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • tbs coffee
  • tbs vanilla paste
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • cup cocoa

For the Ganache

  • cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

For the Buttercream

  • 2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut chocolate (Nutella™), melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 6-by-2-inch cake pans.

  2. In a small bowl mix together the buttermilk, sour cream coffee and vanilla paste.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  4. In a the bowl of a standing mixer beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in flour mixture and buttermilk in three alternating batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

  5. Mix just until almost combined. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom and complete the mixing.

  6. Divide batter between pans, smooth tops. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in pans 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the Buttercream

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and melted chocolate. If buttercream is a bit thick you can add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to thin it out.

For the Ganache

  1. Scald the cream in a small saucepan over medium. Bring it just to a boil then pour over the semisweet chocolate. Let sit for two minutes then whisk until smooth. Reserve about 2/3 a cup of the ganache for the drip. Mix in the walnuts and fold in the marshmallows once cool.

To Assemble

  1. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the top edge of the first layer. Use a spatula to fill the center with the ganache. Place the next layer on top and repeat. Cover the outside with buttercream and smooth.

  2. Drizzle the ganache on top of the cake. If it’s thickened then you can mix in a bit more cream and zap in the microwave for a few seconds at 50% power.

  3. Pile the extra rocky road mixture on top of the cake and then press in a few extra marshmallows and walnuts and give a final light drizzle of chocolate.

Rocky Road Cake 2

Chocolate Whoopie Pie Cake

whoopiepiecake

Who doesn’t love a good whoopie pie? Chocolate cake and marshmallow creme together is pretty much perfection. Instead of making individual sized whoopie pies I decided to turn this treat into a decadent, ooey gooey, delicious cake. I started with my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe, added marshmallow creme from the Epicurious Whoopie Pie recipe and then finished it off with some dark chocolate ganache and mini chips. It was every bit as delicious as it looked.

In hindsight, I do wish I chilled the marshmallow creme for a few minutes before adding it to the cake. It was excellent in flavor but fairly soft and runny so when it was added to the cake some of it ran out from between the layers and dripped down the side. I was looking to keep the creme neatly within the two layers but it became a little messier than I had expected. In the future I will chill the creme for about 5-10 minutes in the fridge, just enough to firm it up so it doesn’t run but not cold enough where it becomes solidified. I think doing this will improve the overall presentation. Thankfully, the chocolate ganache helped to hide the marshmallow mess a bit. Regardless, it tasted decadent and delicious and in the end, that’s all the really matters!

Ingredients

For the Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cold brewed coffee
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp white vinegar

For the Marshmallow Creme

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste *(I used paste because I like seeing the vanilla flecks in the creme)

For the Ganache

  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan, set aside.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well and add all of the wet ingredients, adding the vinegar last. Mix on low until well combined and smooth. The batter will be very thin.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove from pan, place on a wire rack, and leave until completely cooled.

Once the cake is cooled, make the marshmallow creme. In a bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. Drop large dollops of marshmallow creme all over the bottom layer, smooth gently with an offset spatula. Place the other half of the cake on top than chill in the fridge until the ganache is ready.

To make the ganache, combine the butter and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Cook on low until the butter is melted and small bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to sit in the warmed butter and cream for about a minute. Then stir until the ganache is well combined and smooth. Add in the vanilla, stir, and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Remove the cake from the fridge and generously drizzle it with the chocolate ganache, allowing it to drip down the center and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top with mini chocolate chips. Place the cake back into the fridge so the chocolate can set. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

**Tip** – To slice the cake easily without causing any damage use a long piece of unflavored dental floss. Hold the floss taught and starting from the back of the cake pull the floss through the center of the cake towards you, very gently wiggling it as you bring it forward. Continue to pull the floss until the cake is cut all the way through. 

 

 

“How-To” Baking – Chocolate Ganache

Making chocolate ganache is a very simple task that you’ll be glad you mastered as it’s an incredibly versatile accompaniment to many desserts and baked goods. While warm, it’s a fantastic pourable glaze however, once it cools and thickens, you can also use it as a frosting, fudge filling, or even to make truffles! My “go to” recipe for ganache is from the “Williams-Sonoma Mastering” cookbook series. Get it here:

 Williams-Sonoma Mastering: Cakes, Frostings & Fillings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (20 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl oz/160 ml) heavy cream, plus more to adjust consistency
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

If using chocolate bars, chop the chocolate with a serrated knife.

Heat the butter and cream over medium low heat. Heat until the butter has melted and tiny bubbles have formed along the edges of the pan, about 2 minutes. Do NOT allow the mixture to boil or it could scorch which will make the ganache taste burnt.

Remove the pan from the heat and add in the chocolate. Let the chocolate sit in the hot cream mixture to soften, about 30 seconds to a minute.

Using a whisk, mix the ganache until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Let the ganache cool to the desired texture and it’s ready to be used as follows:

  • To use as a smooth pourable fudge sauce, use right away
  • To use as a pourable cake glaze, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes
  • To use as a thick fudge filling, allow to cool for 1-2 hours
  • To use as a frosting for cakes/cupcakes, allow to cool completely

**Tip** – If your finished ganache looks broken or curdled, heat it again over a double boiler and let it melt down. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge and whisk it to bring it back to the desired consistency.

Chocolate Bundt Cake with a Ganache Drizzle

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Leftover Ganache? Do This!

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This weekend I decided to bake my husband an awesome Rocky Road Cake for Father’s Day and even though it was overflowing with yummy ganache goodness, I still had a bowl full of leftovers. You better believe there was NO way I would be throwing out perfectly awesome ganache, in this case, loaded with marshmallows and toasted walnuts! So I set it aside for later when I had time to think about how I wanted to use up what was left.

There are so many wonderful things you can do with any extra ganache you may have, in fact, soon after I made the cake I warmed some of the ganache and poured it all over a bowl of chocolate ice cream for my husband. It was the most decadent and delicious hot fudge sauce imaginable. Then, after chatting with a friend on FB who suggested I make truffles, I was inspired to write a quick blog with some ideas for other things you can do with leftover ganache. Shout out to Michelle G. for giving me the great idea, thank you!! xo

Truffles – Once the ganache is chilled you can scoop it out into little truffle balls. Dust them in cocoa powder or roll them in chopped nuts or shredded coconut and you have a perfect little candy treat.

Chocolate Dip – Warm the ganache and use it to dip your favorite goodies in. Things like brownies, cookies, candies, or even Rice Krispie Treats work great! Sprinkle a little crushed cookie or nonpareils on after dipping and you’ve just turned a simple treat into something much more decadent.

Fudge – If you have plain leftover ganache simply warm it up a bit and then stir in whatever mix-ins you prefer such as: nuts, sprinkles, candies, or even dried fruit. Spread in a pan and chill until firm then cut into bite sized pieces. I personally LOVE dried cranberries mixed into my fudge, especially around the holidays!

Chocolate Mousse – Add a little heavy cream to the leftover ganache and whip in a stand mixer until it reaches a mousse like consistency. Spoon into cute serving glasses and serve with a dollop of whipped cream!

Chocolate Fondue – Warm the ganache and serve it in a small bowl as a fondue alongside a plate of pretzels, pound cake, fresh fruit, cookies, or marshmallows for dipping.

Frosting/Filling – Use the leftovers as frosting for a batch of cupcakes. Better yet, use the ganache as a delicious filling inside of your cupcakes.

If all else fails and you don’t have the time or energy to use it up right away, simply freeze it to be used at a later time. Either wrap it tightly in a plastic wrap, if the ganache is already firm, or seal in an airtight container. To thaw it out, place a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stovetop and add the frozen ganache. Continue to stir it as it melts down, once it’s thinned out and smooth it’s ready to be used.

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