Tag: cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake


I want you to have a really great weekend. I want you to do and see all the things you want to; to sleep in late if that’s your thing, or get up with the sun and get ‘er done – whatever floats your boat.

I want you to have a relaxing weekend where you find snippets of peace and happiness in between your yoga class, your hurried trek to get the kids to swimming lessons on time, that unexpected drop in by your in-laws. I want you to have the sort of weekend where you say to your self: “Self, let’s do this!” and you go on, happily, calmly and without locking your keys in the car or putting the milk in the oven and the muffins in the fridge. Deep breath – don’t forget it’s the weekend.

I want you to have a delicious weekend: double long cappuccino with the foam just right, your favourite deli’s sandwich, perfectly wrapped in waxed paper, eaten joyfully in the sun on a park bench, maybe something grilled to embrace the warmer weather if it is indeed warmer where you are.

And this cake.  (more…)

Mocha Celebration Cake

If you are a home baker you likely get saddled with the responsibility (and joy!) of making birthday cakes for friends and family. My family has a few great bakers in it so I share the load with them, but when it’s my turn I like to pull out all the stops and try to impress. I’m not a very competitive person … except when cooking and baking. Nothing conjures ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaahhhhhs’ like a tall, towering, dark chocolate cake. Pair it with an easy chocolatey frosting and a flavorful mocha filling and you are set.

This particular cake is uncomplicated and delivers on flavor, texture and size – it feeds a crowd!  I recently made it for a friend’s birthday and upon first bite he declared ” I hope you’re blogging this!” and so here we are. Every baker needs a go-to chocolate cake (or two, or three …) and when I get the question, “Will you make the cake?” I often turn to this one because I know it can’t lose.

Chocolate Cake

This cake is a cinch to make (mix it by hand!) and bakes up perfectly like an old fashioned chocolate cake should. If you are making this cake and NOT making a mocha filling or frosting, you can switch the cold coffee out for milk without any ill-effects. However, the coffee imparts less of a true coffee flavour in the cake and simply enhances the chocolate flavour from the cocoa. I also sometimes fill it with a layer of strained raspberry jam (no seeds) and frost it with a vanilla butter cream. This recipe is also great for 24 cupcakes.

preheat the oven to 350° 

¾ C vegetable oil

1 C plain yogurt

1 ½ C cold coffee

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 ¼C flour

2 ½ C sugar

1 C cocoa

2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

Grease and cocoa 2 8×2 inch cake pans. Set aside.

Whisk together the oil and yogurt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, whisking to combine. In a measuring cup or small bowl, measure the cold coffee and add the vanilla and vinegar.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Once mixed, add ½ the dry mixture to the large bowl with the yogurt, oil and eggs. Stir to combine, adding ½ the coffee mixture. Repeat with remaining dry and coffee until the full batter is incorporated. Try not to over mix.

Divide the batter into your prepared pans and bake for 45 minutes at 350° or until a cake tester in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, invert and release cakes. Allow to cool completely before splitting, filling and frosting.

For the Chocolate Frosting and Mocha Filling

Keep things simple by using the same Master frosting inside and out – each tweaked to satisfy the flavours of deep chocolate and the balance of coffee.

In a mixer, whip ½ C unsalted butter with 1 tsp vanilla. Slowly add 4 C of icing (confectioners’) sugar.  Add 2 Tbsp cocoa. Beat until fluffy and well incorporated, adding milk, 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency. You want it to be fluffy, spreadable and light.

Divide the frosting into 2 bowls.

In bowl #1 add 1 tsp super-fine espresso or instant espresso. This is the filling for between the cake layers.

In bowl #2 add 2 more Tbsp of cocoa and any milk you need to keep it spreadable and soft. This is the exterior icing.

To assemble

Place 1 split layer of cake (you should have 4 from the 2 cakes). Spread with one third of the mocha filling. Stack and repeat until all 4 layers of cake are assembled with 3 layers of filling. Frost with the chocolate frosting. if not serving immediately,  refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 30 mins before serving. Serves 12-16

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Dark Chocolate Truffle Frosting

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Truffle Frosting

{because you only turn 30 once}

This is a petite but rich cake due to the dense nature of the pound-cake and the intensity of the frosting. It is made here with two 6″ pans to feed 8 people but you could double it for two 9″ rounds if you are feeding more people.

For the cake:

1 C butter

1 ½ C sugar

5 eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

seeds from one vanilla bean pod

2 Tbsp milk

2 C flour

Butter and flour 2 6×2″ pans. Preheat oven to 325°. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating fully and scraping down the sides oft he bowl with a rubber spatula before each new addition. Add vanillas. Add milk. Add flour in 4 portions, stirring as little as possible to incorporate. Scrape the batter (it will be thick) into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool 10 minutes in the pans on a wire rack before inverting and cooling fully on the rack alone.

Once the cakes are fully cool, trim them of any dome-shape on top and slice each round in half, creating 4 rounds. Spread the tops of the bottom 3 layers with

¾ C raspberry jam, divided

Stack the layers. Prepare the frosting.

For the frosting:

½ C butter, softened

½ C cocoa

2 C icing sugar

1-3 tsp milk

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and cocoa together until fully incorporated and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, ½ C at a time, alternating with milk. Aim for a firm, but smooth texture. Use ¼-½ the icing as a ‘crumb coat’ — a smooth even layer of frosting to seal in any errant crumbs. Use the rest of your frosting to pipe details onto the sides and edges of the cake.

Finish the cake with a dusting of cocoa (1-2 tsp cocoa shaken through a sieve above the cake).

Cinnamon Blueberry Tea Cake

If we are Twitter pals, you may recall that a couple weeks ago I tweeted a smattering of frantic SOS-like questions pertaining to the exact whereabouts of a particular lemon and blueberry loaf that I was so sure I had seen and read, then forgotten, then remembered, and ultimately misplaced. I still haven’t found it. It is somewhere, out in the blog-osphere, taunting me. One day I will find it.

The reason for the panic was that I had been talking food (what else?) with my dear friend, Janna, who is a real delight and understands that all cannot be right with the world when one is on the hunt for a recipe. See, I had promised to forward it to her, but then I’d forgotten where I had seen it, and I was trying to appear organized, resourceful and master of my baking domain. Instead, I failed and flailed, but being the excellent friend that she is, Janna sent me a recipe instead. Her mother’s cinnamon loaf recipe, to be exact.

I read it through. It seemed simple enough. It called for soured milk (nothing a spritz of lemon wouldn’t solve) but I happened to have buttermilk. The cinnamon and brown sugar promised an intoxicating aroma, and as Janna put it, “Your whole house will smell sweet. It just takes over!”. Sold.

But there I was, still with the lemon blueberry loaf on my mind, and then it hit me … blueberries and cinnamon. Oh yes. Oh. Yes.  So I whipped up the batter (shockingly runny!) and layered it with the cinnamon sugar, then deftly thwacked the heavy, dark berries into the surface. Into the oven it went. As if by magic, or the delicious psychic-ism of old friends, the phone rang. Who else but Janna?

“I’m making your mom’s cinnamon loaf. ”

“Oooooooh I bet your house smells like my childhood right now!”

“I added blueberries and used buttermilk.”

“Oh. Well, it will still be really good.”

An hour later, the phone call over, the cake emerged, golden, spiced and berries bubbling. I was glad I had baked it in a heart shaped dish — it made me smile. Cooled and cut, dusted with powdered sugar, it was fantastic; simple and homey. It was a far cry from lemon but somehow, thanks to the thoughtfulness of a friend and a dependable recipe, all was right with the world.

Cinnamon Blueberry Tea Cake

adapted from a family recipe  

preheat your oven to 350°

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/4 C butter

1 C sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 C buttermilk

1 C blueberries (fresh or frozen. if frozen, do not thaw)

Grease and flour a standard loaf pan or 8×8 square pan, set aside.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla, mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Beat until pale, fluffy and well incorporated.

In a second bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

Pour approximately one 3rd of the dry mixture into the wet mixture, incorporate swiftly without over mixing. Add 1/2 the buttermilk, again, incorporating swiftly. Repeat, alternating with the remaining 2/3 of the dry ingredients and the second 1/2 of the buttermilk. The batter will be quite wet, similar to pancake batter.

Pour a thin layer of the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle over some of cinnamon sugar mixture. Alternate, making layers until both the batter and the cinnamon sugar are used. Swirl the layers with a knife, chopstick, skewer, etc.

Drop the blueberries, in a single layer all over the surface. Push some of them down into the batter and let others remain on top.

Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 mins. The cake will be done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in its center comes out clean.

Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then turn the cake out to cool completely. Once cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Grapefruit Tea Cake

You may have noticed that I am a fan of quick breads. What’s not to love about an easy to make sweet that mixes up fast and pops out of its loaf pan less than an hour later? This particular loaf was borne of a curiosity (if lemon loaf is good, them wouldn’t grapefruit loaf be good too? hmmm …..) and an abundance of grapefruit. We have been eating ruby grapefruits a lot in the last few weeks and although they are more tedious to eat (if you’re nuts like me and you can’t bear to eat any pith or membrane because all you want is the sweet, juicy flesh). They have been very enjoyable and a nice break from oranges.

We are also beginning the process of transforming our useless swamp of a back yard into an agricultural oasis. This urban gardening experience is happening in part because we have opened it up to some apartment dwelling friends with green thumbs, thereby creating a community garden, literally in our own back yard. In anticipation of brunch and our first day out in the yard, I wanted to try out a new recipe or two and since there were no lemons to speak of in the house, but about a dozen plump, ripe, pink and delicious grapefruits I thought I’d try to see what I could do with them. This is by no means a way to use up a plethora of grapefruits (I only needed one) but this humble, hearty loaf does pack a nice citrus punch, and the shamelessly sugary glaze helps you forget that its whole wheat.

If you’re feeling hesitant about the whole wheat flour, or you just don’t have any one hand, there is no reason not to use plain all purpose flour. Likewise, cake flour would yield an even more refined crumb. Either way, it’s just the thing with a strong cup of tea.

Grapefruit Tea Cake

preheat your oven to 350 degrees

3 Cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 Cup of butter, room temperature

1 cup of sugar

4 eggs

zest of 1 grapefruit

1/4 a cup of grapefruit juice

1/4 of a cup of milk

3/4 cup sour cream

Combine the dry ingredients, stirring well to combine. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next one. Add the zest. Beat until pale in colour and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the grapefruit juice and milk slowly to the butter mixture with the mixer running — it may curdle slightly — don’t be alarmed, it will be fine in the end.

Add the dry ingredients, one half at a time, alternating with the sour cream. Mix gently until fully combined.

Scrape into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tip out of the loaf pans onto a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before glazing. Glazing while warm allows the glaze to be partly absorbed into the cake.

For the glaze:

this is the amount of glaze you will need per loaf

Scoop 6 tablespoons of icing sugar into a bowl.

Add a pinch of salt.

Pour in a few tablespoons of grapefruit juice and stir.

Aim for the texture of whipping cream, or slightly thicker.

Pour slowly over warm cake allowing the glaze to soak in.