Birthday!

Okay so I’m a little off my normal posting schedule (Wednesday?! weird) but I have camp imminently approaching (yay!!) and then some vacation (MORE YAY!), which is going to throw off my normal schedule anyway, so why not.

Hello!

Happy midweek, if there is such a thing. At least there is a three day weekend coming up!

Also, Fave BoyHuman had a birthday yesterday! So of COURSE there was a baked thing.

and a tiny Yoda of course

He requested chocolate and blueberries, so I ended up making a dark chocolate torte with mascarpone cream and blueberry chia jam. Soooo yum. It’s been a minute since I’ve made a cake, and this one did NOT disappoint. Adapted it from a friend/the local baker behind Bojon Gourmet – her stuff is seriously amazing.

Plus, I only dropped one version of this cake. HA. I was overdue for a kitchen mishap I think… much cursing ensued, but I think it actually did me a favor, since I was able to tweak the flavors and the baking time a slight bit on the second go round, and eat some cake scraps (obviously. I not above eating them off my floor, or the bottom of my oven).

This cake sounds intimidating maybe but I promise it’s really not! Most labor intensive thing in here is beating the egg whites, which in my mind is just fun – I love watching egg white alchemy take place. It’s also gluten and grain free, plus refined sugar free depending on the chocolate you use.

There’s been other baking happening too that hasn’t really made it on here – last weekend I made what is approximately my 1,000,000th galette (I love them, what can I say) – it was delicious and so simple. This one was cherries and apricots – they are very much in season right now so I’m taking full advantage. Probably should invest in a cherry pitter though…

You can use any of the galette recipes on here (like this one) – just swap in enough cherries and sliced apricots until you have a large enough pile to fill your dough.

Let’s see, what else.

In other news, working too much. Can’t wait for camp, and then also vacation. Wheee!

I think that’s pretty much it…. tired after what has been a crazy start to the week. Time for the cake recipe! I hope the rest of your week goes by quickly and that it’s a smooth slide into the holiday weekend.

Dark Chocolate Torte with Mascarpone Cream and Blueberry Chia Jam

Gluten and grain free; refined sugar free depending on the type of chocolate you use. I suggest Hu or Raaka if you need or want it to be strictly refined sugar free. I used a blend of what I had on hand, which wasn’t STRICTLY refined sugar free, but close enough :) Yield: 1 6″ cake, serves several with small slices or two with a lot of leftovers for breakfast!

for the cake:

Cake recipe gratefully adapted from The Bojon Gourmet, here! Her recipes are so well written, I’m not going to mess with rewriting! Her blog is beautiful, just go take a look. My notes are below for my adaptation.

  • I used a blend of 67 and 85% dark chocolate plus a chunk of unsweetened (100% cacao) to get to 6oz and it was delicious
  • Used 2tbsp cassava flour to keep it grain free
  • Replaced the sugar with 1/4 maple into the chocolate batter and 3 tbsp coconut sugar in the egg whites
  • Added 1 tbsp vanilla
  • Used a 6″ springform for 3/4 of the batter, 3″ springform for the rest (optional, of course – the batter fits into an 8 or 9″ pan perfectly) – the 6″ went for 20 min

for the cream:

1/2 c mascarpone
1 c heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup

Whip everything together until it holds its shape with soft peaks (for softer cream) or stiffer peaks if you want more body. Chill until needed.

for the blueberry chia jam:

2 c blueberries (I used 1 c fresh, 1 c frozen wild)
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp maple
1 tbsp chia seeds

Bring berries, lemon juice and maple to a simmer over medium high, then lower heat. Cook until the juices are bubbling and juice is reduced, 10-15 min. Stir in 1 tbsp chia seeds; mash slightly to squash berries, remove and let cool; chill in the fridge overnight if you make it in advance (keeps for at least a week in the fridge).

Serve this however you like! I chose to frost mine but that’s totally optional – it would also be excellent served in wedges with cream and blueberry jam dolloped over the top. It keeps very well in the fridge – I frosted it a few hours before serving, and served it cold. You can also let it warm up slightly on the counter a bit before serving. Store it covered in the fridge for a day or two after if you have leftovers.

Whoops-a-FAIL and Bailey’s for breakfast

EPIC. FAIL.

Who forgets the SUGAR when making brownies?! I mean, really. SUGAR. Psshhh.

Well, that would be me, apparently.

Whoops.

Not entirely sure where my head was the evening I was making these: perhaps screwed on a wee bit backwards? I realized what had happened (or rather, NOT happened) when the so-called “brownies” were about halfway done in the oven. Out of slight curiosity (and irritation: wasting food, especially baking materials, is like a cardinal sin in my book), I decided to let them finish baking and then taste them. Fully prepared to hate them, I whipped up another batch so that brownies could be had for Mutti’s reunion… and then took the *ahem* REJECTS out of the oven to cool before I attempted to taste them.

mmm

But wait.

Time for the bombshell. You’d think completely sugar-less brownies would be nasty, right?! But… they’re NOT! They turned out like some kind of brownie-bread, or at least that’s what Vati and I thought. So rather than throw them out, we decided to hang on to them for breakfast and dessert purposes. Waste not, want not! Besides, then you can have GUILT-FREE BAILEY’S for breakfast!! If that isn’t awesome, I’m not sure what is. The brownies themselves (properly made) actually aren’t too bad for you—they originally come from a Cooking Light recipe. QED, brownies minus sugar = healthy breakfast. Ha. Winning.

Do yourself a favor: make them, sans sugar. Top them with mascarpone cheese and blueberry jam and cinnamon… and eat them for breakfast.

Epic fail? Absolutely not.

Remind you of anything? Mayan calendar, perhaps??

Bailey’s Brownies

For REAL brownies, use sugar. Obvs. Please don’t leave it out. They’re wonderful brownies: hydrated and fudgy interior, chewy exterior and a crackly top. Perfection. For “brownie bread” (excellent for breakfast and all-purpose snacking), omit sugar and pretend you did it on purpose.

Recipe gratefully borrowed (and slightly adapted) from Gimme Some Oven, here! Makes an 8 by 8 pan of brownies.

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • my-cup-runneth-over 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1/4 c butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c (slightly overflowing, hehe) Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

breakfast is served..

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8 by8 pan with foil (this makes for ridiculously easy removal).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips together, using bursts of about 30 seconds. Let cool. Once cooled, whisk in eggs vigorously for a few seconds. Once incorporated, whisk in sugar, Bailey’s, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing out the top a bit.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a tester comes out with a few moist crumbs (don’t overbake, unless you like brownie bricks! I don’t exactly recommend this). Let cool in the pan for a bit, then lift the foil onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

stack o’ rejects

Happy Birthday, Vaccuum Vati!!

Happy Birthday, Vaccuum Vati!

Whaat. October already?! Sheeesh.

Time to bust out the pumpkin, ahhh yeahhh. Because as we know, I am the Queen of Orange.

But before we do that (and because of this ridiculous Indian Summer we’ve got going here: a hundred degrees in October?! Excuse me?! We know I loathe hot weather. Can’t it just be fall already?? I can’t quite do pumpkin until it’s at least a little cold-ish)… I bring you the end of Birthday Month!! Slightly belatedly, but hey–better late than never. So with that in mind, here’s this little bit of deliciousness: Vaccuum Vati’s birthday cake!!

mmm

As per request, things got a leeeetle spiiiicayyy up in hurrr since Vati wanted cayenne pepper in some form of dessertness. I thought about brownies for a split second but nahhh, why make brownies when you can make cake?! Pssh. Brownies. It’s a birthday, after all.

I’ve never baked with cayenne before, though I’ve had desserts where it was sneakily present.

hehhe.. edge on!

I think I’ve decided I like it, at least in this cake—the pepper sneaks in subtly, rather than punching you in the face going “I’M SPICY! EAT ME AND CLEAR YOUR SINUSES, PITIFUL HUMAN!” Or at least that’s what a lot of those less subtle desserts feel like to me… sort of like the sea salt and vinegar Kettle Chips. But I digress. This cake is super hydrated (remember, we don’t like the m-word), rich, chocolately and spicy. Just sweet enough (though I didn’t cut the sugar on this one as per request as well, as SOMEONE has an (inherited, I’m sure) sweet tooth the size of Texas). And the frosting?! Oh yes. The frosting. Hooooly crap. I had to save myself from cleaning the bowl out with my face, it is that good. Maybe if you make this, ┬ádouble the frosting and save the second bowl for something creative. I don’t know, like eating with a spoon or something, with a token graham cracker so you pretend you’re using it as “dip”. Haha. Yeah right. I’m sure you’ll think of something, you’re a creative bunch.

The first word that comes to mind is… craggy. Um. No comment.

Anyway. Go in the kitchen, get out a bowl. It’s simple. Spicy chocolate cake, you know you want it… you’ll thank me later!

mmm.

Spicy Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Mascarpone Frosting

Slightly adapted from Baked Bree, here! I made a half recipe in 6″ cake pans, so I’ll include those measurements here.

For the cake:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 + 3/8 c whole wheat pastry flour (sorry for the awkward measurements…)
  • 1/2 + 1/8 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 4.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c milk bev (I used 1% milk)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4.5 tsp Bourbon vanilla

This couldn’t be simpler… in fact, it’s pretty close to instant cake gratification. Lezzz dooo eeeet!

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 6″ cake pans, line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper, and then lightly grease that (coconut oil is fab for this). In a largeish bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: cocoa through salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk, oil, applesauce, egg, vinegar and vanilla until combined. Pour wet into dry (see? EASY.). Chuck batter into prepared cake pans (ideally the top is evenish, if not.. oops oh well, you get to do trimming, which means there are cake scraps to be eaten), and bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (For full-size cakes, increase bake time to 45 minutes). Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, then upend onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Subliminal messaging eeeeaattt meeee!!!

While the cake is baking: make the frostinggg (Keep your fingers away from the bowl, please) (as if). I made half the recipe. Don’t kid yourself, make extra. My measurements below are for half but really… what else would you do with that leftover mascarpone?!

  • half of 1 tub (8 oz) of mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Bourbon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c heavy cream

Whip yo’ cream (and yo’ hair) until stiff peaks form. Once cream is whipppp-ed, set aside. In a bowl, “whisk” (and by whisk, I mean sort of stir) mascarpone, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. Fold cream into the mascarpone mixture, and try not to eat it all at once. Some is supposed to go on the cake, you know…

With half the recipe, I had enough to put a layer between the two cake layers, and frost the whole thing.

Drool. Eat. Love!

Vaccuum VATI! (Loves his ducks)