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!

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry season will be here soon!  I had been craving this Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake for a couple of weeks and, thankfully, had some sliced berries in the freezer from last year so only had to wait for some free time to bake this up.  Oh, it smells so good as it bakes! You’ll definitely want a piece (or two or three) of this delicious cake!

 

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

 

 

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake
I have no idea where I got this recipe from.  I cut it out back in college and try to make it at least once when strawberries are in season.  So sorry, I don’t know who to give credit to…just know that I did not make this up!

Ingredients
1 c miniature marshmallows
1 pkg (16-oz) frozen sweetened slice strawberries, thawed
1 pkg (3-oz) strawberry gelatin
1/2 c shortening
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c milk, room temperature
optional (I highly recommend): fresh strawberries and whipped cream

What To Do
Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Sprinkle marshmallows evenly into a greased 9″ x 13″ x 2″ baking dish and set aside.

In a bowl, combine strawberries and gelatin powder and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Pour batter over the marshmallows.

Spoon strawberry mixture evenly over batter.

Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Cut into squares and garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream.

My Comments
I don’t sweeten my strawberries when I freeze them and don’t add sugar to them when I thaw them out.

I sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

As you can see, I topped mine with whipped cream and slivered almonds.  I also like whipped cream and mini chocolate chips on top!

Some Photos Along the Way
Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

Upside-Down Strawberry Shortcake

 

How cool is that? The marshmallows and strawberries trade places while baking! This really has turned my world upside-down! In a good way :).

Here’s to a super strawberry-licious summer! It can’t get here soon enough!

Blackberry Swirl Pound Cake

So the other day I realized I still had some blackberries in the freezer from last year.  I thought I better get them used up before I get the call from my blackberry source this year.  Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? My blackberry source? He’s also my strawberry source and I affectionately call him “the strawberry man” no matter what it is I’m picking at his lovely farm.  It’s so lovely…but I digress…

I didn’t get all my stash used up making this pound cake but I did make a small dent.  Every little bit helps, right? I hadn’t made a pound cake in a long time and it just sounded good.  And it is.  I think you might like it too.

 

Blackberry Swirl Pound Cake

 

Blackberry Swirl Pound Cake
from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
6 ounces blackberries (1 1/3 cups)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

What To Do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; butter parchment. In a food processor, puree blackberries with 2 tablespoons sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Transfer half the batter to pan and dot with 1/2 cup blackberry puree. Repeat with remaining batter and puree. With a skewer or thin-bladed knife, swirl batter and puree together. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan and place on a serving plate; let cool completely before slicing.

My Comments
I strained the seeds out of my pureed blackberries.  Half a cup of blackberry puree looked like too much to add to the batter (in the middle and on top) so I used less and had some leftover, which is okay because I’ve been drizzling it over my slices of pound cake and it adds extra blackberry goodness.

I checked mine after an hour in the oven and it was done.

I wish I had some whipped cream to dollop on top of the cake and then I could drizzle some blackberry puree on top of it all.  Maybe add a touch of lemon zest? I think it would be heavenly.

Have a “berry” good week! 🙂

 

Peach & Blackberry Upside-Down Cake

One of my favorite things about summer: fresh fruit.  Yesterday I went to the Farmer’s Market and got some peaches from my favorite peach vendor (they’re actually from my hometown) and since I still have blackberries that Matt & I picked, I decided to combine the two into something delicious.  I’m going to put this in the “dessert” category, but you better believe that I’m going to be eating this for breakfast tomorrow!

 

Peach & Blackberry Upside-down cake

 

Peach & Blackberry Upside-Down Cake
inspired by the Pineapple-Upside Down Cake recipe in The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients
5 T butter
1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (maybe 2 or 3, depending on size)
a handful of fresh blackberries
a handful of pecan pieces
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/3 c orange juice
1.5 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 c sugar

What To Do
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a 10″ skillet or heavy 10″ round cake pan.  (I used a 9″ spring form pan).  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter and place peach slices on top.  Arrange blackberries and pecans however you like.  Here’s how mine looked:

 

arrange fruit

 

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together; set the mixture aside.  Combine the juice and vanilla and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they’re thick and lemon-colored and the beaters leave tracks as they travel through them.  With beaters/mixer still running, gradually sprinkle in the sugar.  Add the juice, then slow down the beaters/mixer.  Add sifted dry ingredients all at once and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Pour the batter over the prepared fruit in the cake pan.  Bake the cake for 45 minutes, until its center springs back when touched lightly and it’s just barely starting to pull away form the edge of the pan.  Remove it from the oven and place a serving plate over the cake pan.  While keeping a firm grip on both, flip the pan over and place the plate and cake on a cooling rack.  Leave the pan on top for 5 minutes while the hot topping drips back down over the cake.  After 5 minutes, remove the pan and rearrange any fruit that has shifted.

My Comments
This is my second time making this.  Last time I used dried cranberries instead of blackberries.  Of course, you can just use peaches if you don’t like/want anything else.

I love this served warm with a little whipped cream on top.  A little dollop of ice cream would be good too.

 

I can’t believe it is August!! I hope you are enjoying your summer.  I enjoy mine more when I have tasty summer treats to devour! 🙂

Flourless Honey-Almond Cake

I had the pleasure of cooking for various members of my family yesterday.  A sister from Maine, a niece from Ohio and an uncle from about an hour south of here filled the house with chatter, laughter and good cheer.  For the main course, I tried the recipe that Commenter Teri shared for Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken (shared in the Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot – Part 1 post) and it really was perfect and delicious! It’s definitely a keeper and I will make it again.  For side dishes,  I made some green beans tossed with balsamic butter (I will post this recipe soon) and quinoa.  For dessert, I made this Flourless Honey-Almond Cake:

 

flourless honey-almond cake

 

Not only was it pretty, it tasted really good.  It tasted even better with strawberries.

 

honey-almond cake with strawberries

 

I liked it best with strawberries and leftover chocolate marshmallow fondue (another future post) drizzled on top!

 

honey-almond cake with strawberries and chocolate

 

Flourless Honey-Almond Cake
from EatingWell.com

Ingredients for the Cake
1.5 c whole almonds, toasted
4 large eggs, room temperature and separated
1/2 c honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Ingredients for the Topping
2 T honey
1/4 c sliced almonds, toasted

What To Do
To toast whole almonds: spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, for 7 – 9 minutes.

To toast sliced almonds: cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned for 2 – 4 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Process whole almonds in a food processor or blender until finely ground (you will have about 1 3/4 cups ground). Beat 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer (or use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer) on medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and beat on low until combined.

Beat 4 egg whites in another large bowl with the electric mixer (use clean beaters on a hand-held mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer) on medium speed until very foamy, white and doubled in volume, but not stiff enough to hold peaks, 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the type of mixer). Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently remove the side ring. Let cool completely.

If desired, remove the cake from the pan bottom by gently sliding a large, wide spatula between the cake and the parchment paper. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving platter. To serve, drizzle the top of the cake with honey and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

My Comments
I did not spray the bottom of the springform pan before lining it with parchment paper.

I toasted the almonds for the cake batter and ground them up a couple nights ahead of time.  Matt thought they smelled like popcorn! The point is, though, you can do some prep work ahead of time.  I love that.

I did not measure 2 T honey for the topping, I just drizzled honey straight from the bottle to on top of the cake.

This cake is gluten-free!

 

This was my first time making a gluten-free cake.  Come to think of it, there’s no sugar either.  Hmmm…maybe eating well isn’t so bad! And as my sister pointed out, if I had used dark chocolate for the fondue/drizzle, we’d be getting antioxidants and all that.  Oh well, there’s always next time!

And until next time, I hope you all have a great day!