Tag Archives: baking

Mom’s Chocolate Cake vs. Mom’s Chocolate Cake

2 Jan

Yesterday, I baked my first cake of 2011 – Food & Wine’s Mom’s Chocolate Cake. This time I actually had an occasion to bake since it was Mandy’s birthday. The cake is your classic chocolate cake – light, springy, and rich with a creamy, fudgey icing.  If I liked milk it would be the perfect accompaniment.

Although F&W’s cake is called Mom’s Chocolate Cake, it’s not MY mom’s chocolate cake. My mom’s cake is delicious and baked every December for my dad’s birthday. It’s similar to the F & W cake, but the cake is denser. The difference is the use of brown sugar. My cake requires a simple syrup that in turn created a thin batter.

Anyway, the real story here is the icing. In recent years my mom can no longer get the frosting for her cake to set. One year, the frosting just stopped setting. Reason unknown.

This fact made me a bit nervous about preparing my frosting. Would it set? Let’s see:

So why does my frosting work? The process is identical to my mom’s frosting. She also uses an ice bath to cool and thicken the mixture. My friend believes the secret is the salt, but both our recipes call for salt. She explained to me last night that salt sets the mixture. Who knows? I think it might have to do with the cream in my frosting.

We may never figure out why my mom’s frosting doesn’t work, but either way, I’ve decided on my own solution. My mom’s chocolate cake and F & W’s chocolate frosting. The best of both worlds.


My Mom’s Deluxe Chocolate Cake

  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water

Stir chocolate with 1/3 cup water over low heat until melted. Cool. Cream butter andsugar until light and fluffy; add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Blend in chocolate withmixer.
Combine flour, soda, salt. Add alternately with 1 cup water on low speed. Beat just until well blended. Pour batter into well greased and floured pans.

(2)8” pan: 35 – 40 minutes

(2)9” pans: 30 – 35 minutes


A Modern Spin on Gift Giving

24 Dec

It just wouldn’t be my style if I didn’t come up with a
creative way to wrap gifts at Christmas. Half of gift giving is the
presentation! This year instead of pulling my inspiration from the
pages of “Martha Stewart Living,” I drew my vision from my day job
as a digital strategist. I adorned packages of baked goods with
custom QR codes instead of gift tags to let recipients unlock my
Christmas wishes for them. It’s easy to make your own QR code and you
can even get creative with codes
that play music
. Check out my goodie bags below!

A Two-Day Affair with Cookies

13 Dec

It’s no secret I love to bake – cookies, cakes, pies, muffins, cupcakes – you name it and I’ve probably baked it. Though I need little reason to whittle away time in the kitchen, Christmas brings with it a “no excuses, just do it” type attitude when it comes to tasty treats.

I have a carefully crafted list of creations I only prepare at this time year, including caramels, toffee, and fudge. Each of these treats requires a bit more time and attention than your average cookie or brownie that’s worth the effort when gift recipients find homemade candy inside a package.

While candy takes precision, none of these treats amount to the commitment that is the palmier. These french cookies are a rare treat among Christmas cookie spreads. Slightly crisp on the outside, flakey on the inside, palmiers melt in your mouth.

My Gingersnap Palmiers are courteous of Martha Stewart Living, December 2006. The cookies require at least three hours of prep time in the freezer once assembled, plus another 30 minutes in the freezer once on the baking sheets. Between assembling and freezing the cookies it takes two days to make them. But, I promise the extra effort comes through in every bite.


A Sweet Send Off

2 Jul

Friday was my last day at Levick. As a final parting gift I baked cupcakes and adorned them with digital and social media logos.

Though it might seem odd I would bring in treats on my last day of work, I was the resident baker in the office. I’ve baked everything from bacon cupcakes to fresh cinnamon swirl bread.

I thought it would be fun to share one final sweet treat with my co-workers. Plus, I couldn’t resist decorating the cupcakes with Facebook, Twitter, and Google icons.