Flourless Chocolate Cake

Happy Independence Day!

I made this cake to celebrate some good ol’ fashioned Red, White and Blue and it turned out really well.  It was my first time making a flourless chocolate cake and I’m hooked.  It’s great for gluten-free and gluten-loving chocolate lovers! You can “accessorize” it however you want, which makes it a great recipe to keep handy all year ’round.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients
Cake
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa preferred

Glaze
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.

To make the cake: Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary. You can also do this over a burner set at very low heat. Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Espresso enhances chocolate’s flavor much as vanilla does; using 1 teaspoon will simply enhance the flavor, while 2 teaspoons will lend a hint of mocha to the cake.

Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust, and it should register at least 200°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center.

Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife or nylon spreader, and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.

Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.

My Comments
For chocolate, I used semisweet chocolate chips and dutch processed cocoa.

I did include vanilla but not espresso powder.

I used an 8″ x 8″ pan, baked it for the same amount of time.

I made the glaze (chocolate ganache) while the cake was baking. I always make ganache in a pan on the stove.  Combine the heavy cream and chocolate chips and stir together on low heat.  I don’t trust the microwave.

After the cake had cooled and the ganache had cooled into a nice spreadable consistency, I frosted the cake and put it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning it was nice and firm and easy to slice.  I did rinse and dry my knife after each slice.  I sliced the cake into 16 squares.

I decided to whip some leftover heavy cream with a spoonful of powdered sugar and put little dollops on each piece, topped with fresh strawberry slices and blueberries, which I thought looked very nice for Independence Day.

 

This cake turned out super yummy and everyone loved it.  I think you’ll love it too and hope you try it out soon.  Have a wonderful day today celebrating our freedom!

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No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes

We’ve had some unusually cool weather recently but hot and humid is on its way back soon.  Try these no-bake cheesecakes for a nice treat without having to turn your oven or stove on! These are also a great way to showcase and enjoy delicious summer fruits like peaches, strawberries, blueberries…you get the idea!

No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes
slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction
makes 6-8 individual servings or one 9″ pie

Ingredients
Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped fruit – I used peaches

Garnish
whipped cream
fresh fruit

What To Do
In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Evenly divide the crumbs between 6 individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer. Place serving dishes into the refrigerator while you prepare the cheesecake.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese for 2-3 minutes.

Add in sweetened condensed milk mix until smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure the cream cheese is fully incorporated.

Add in lemon juice and vanilla and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Fold in fruit.

Evenly spoon mixture into prepared serving dishes, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Before serving, top with whipped cream, fruit and lemon slices.

My Comments
I used peaches because that’s what I had.  I’d like to try this with other fruits too.

I used about 2.5 tablespoons of crust mixture for each serving dish.  I guess it depends on how big your dishes are.

I would like more lemon flavor so next time I will add some lemon zest to the cheesecake batter.

I did pipe on the whipped cream but you certainly can spoon it on and spread it around.  I was just feeling fancy.

Some Photos Along the Way
No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peach Lemonade Cheesecakes

These would be great for a summer party or just to fancy up your family dinner.  All without breaking a sweat.

Happy Friday to you all – have a great weekend!

Blueberry Muffins

Tomorrow is National Blueberry Muffin Day so I thought I’d share my favorite blueberry muffin recipe.  These are great!

 

Blueberry Muffins

 

Blueberry Muffins
from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
coarse white sparkling sugar for garnish (optional)

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with papers, and grease the papers.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand-held or stand mixer, until light, fluffy, and almost white in color. Start the mixer at low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, then gradually increase speed to medium-high until the desired color and texture are reached.

Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the vanilla and sour cream or yogurt, and mix until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the batter is smooth. It will be thick.

Fold in the berries by hand.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, using a heaping 1/4-cup for each. Sprinkle with regular granulated or coarse white sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 18 to 24 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on a rack.

My Comments
I never grease my muffin papers.

I love blueberry season and these muffins are berry-licious.  Happy Blueberry Muffin Day tomorrow!

Blueberry Buckle

I may have alluded to how I feel about winter in a previous post.  It’s not just the cold I have problems with but also the fact that good local fresh fruit is nonexistent.  Lucky for me, I have blueberries in the freezer from summertime.  I strongly encourage all of you who live where the seasons change to stock up at a U-pick farm or the farmer’s market during the summer and freeze enough to enjoy throughout the long cold winter months.  You’ll be glad you did.  It takes a little extra work, but it’s soooooo worth it!

For example, because I put in some extra work over the summer, I’m enjoying this tasty taste of summer for breakfast this week:

 

Blueberry Buckle
from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients for the Batter
3/4 c sugar
4 T butter, softened
1 Egg (remember, large and at room temp!)
1/2 c milk (yup, room temp too)
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cardamom (optional)
1 t vanilla extract (optional)
2 c blueberries (fresh, or if frozen, unthawed)

Ingredients for the Streusel
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t cinnamon
2-3 t lemon zest, or 1/8 t lemon oil
1/2 t salt
5 1/3 T butter, softened

What To Do
Grease and flour a 9″ square or 9″ round pan and preheat oven to 375°F.

Batter: Cream together the sugar and butter, then add the egg and mix at medium speed for 1 minute.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Stir in the milk alternately with the dry ingredients and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Streusel: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinammon, lemon and salt.  Add the butter, mixing to make medium-sized crumbs.  Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter.

Bake the buckle for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, and cool it (in the pan) on a rack before serving.

My Comments
I’ve never put cardamom in.  I always put in the vanilla.

I don’t usually have a lemon sitting around so I most often leave the lemon zest out of the streusel.  I have put it in a couple times.  Tastes great either way.  Have never tried lemon oil.

I like to sift all the dry ingredients for the batter so there are no lumps.  Sifting also incorporates more air so it’s lighter.  I don’t mean the kind of sifter with a hand crank.  I mean the wire mesh one that sits on top of the bowl so you can just dump your ingredients in it and then it sifts on its way to the bowl.  Like mining for gold.  Easy.

If you use frozen blueberries, the batter will be thick.  So thick that you may, ahem, break your spoon if you’re not using a sturdy one.  Not that I know for sure or anything.

For mixing the butter into the streusel…the most fun way is to use your fingers but if you don’t want to get messy, I think using a pastry blender is the best way to go.  Another worthy investment and they don’t really cost all that much.  Good way to exercise your arm muscles too.

Cake tester = toothpick.

I like this best served warm.

 

I noticed that it’s staying light out later so summer is on its way.  Until then, I hope you try this Blueberry Buckle and enjoy it as much as I do.  Here it is again up close.  YUM!