Black Forest Cake

20120426-183135.jpgDo you ever dream in cake? Or ice cream and cookies for that matter? No? That’s just me? Okay well you should start.

You see a few weeks ago I received my latest Enjoy package from Joy the Baker. It was a collection of goodies from King Arthur flour, including a gift card and catalog for future use.

20120426-183508.jpgRemember this? The catalog was littered with recipes involving its products and there amongst the pages was a black forest cake. It was a good looking cake that is for sure. I instantly began dreaming about making it.

For some reason I didn’t get around to it until this past weekend. I felt like I needed more of a reason then just because I felt like it, to make such a grand cake, so when a dinner at my parents house came up I seized the opportunity.

This cake is amazing. It’s simple, and it looks fancy. And I didn’t even try that hard. My cake was uneven, not level and still oh so pretty. I started this cake when I woke up and it was 100% complete by noon, with very minimal time and effort. I dare say this may have been the best cake I have made to date. I used the recipe in the King Arthur catalog for inspiration and kind of just ran from there.

Use quality ingredients when you make this cake, I promise it makes all the difference.

Black Forest Cake

Inspired by this recipe


1 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

16 ounces cherry raspberry pie filling
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces grated dark chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.

2. Make the cake: In a medium bowl mix the cocoa, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In the bowl of a mixer combine the water, oil and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Divide evenly among cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator until cold.

3. Make the filling: Whip cream to medium peaks. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and beat to stiff peaks. Divide the cream in half, you will use half for the filling and half for the frosting.

4. Cut each cake in half, resulting in four layers. Spread 1/3 of the pie filling on first layer. Top with 1/3 of filling whipped cream. Top with remaining layers of cake, pie filling and cream until assembled. Frost entire cake with remaining whipped cream. Top with grated chocolate. Cake will keep for up to five days wrapped tightly in the refrigerator.

The road to recovery. And cookies.

20120415-151047.jpgHave I mentioned that this guy likes cookies? Like a lot? Well he does. Oreo cookies, Reese’s pieces cookies, chocolate chip cookies. He’s quite a fan of all of them.

20120415-151249.jpgA few months ago I decided I wanted to start a tradition, something we could do with our little growing family, and Jennifer Perillo inspired me to make that tradition Pizza Fridays. It’s simple, on a Friday night, you make homemade pizza, eat it with those you love and spend time together. Typically our lives get busy and we may have plans on a Friday night, but I try to carve out one weekend day that’s just ours.

20120415-151345.jpgSo this Pizza Friday I made pizza and cookies. Somehow I’ve yet to match the little premade packaged cookies that my husband loves so much but I am going to keep trying. This recipe was one of my favorites.

It starts with melted butter and brown sugar. You heat them until they turn to molten lava and develop a wonderfully toffee like flavor. Once cooled the rest of the very short list of ingredients are added. These cookies are quick and easy. And being low on flour I subbed in part bread flour which allows them to hold their shape beautifully. I also threw in some white whole wheat flour. Shhhhh don’t tell my husband, I’ve been putting it in everything lately.

This guy is getting better, and I couldn’t be happier. We’re getting back to a new, better kind of normal around here, and I’ll keep making him cookies until I find his perfect cookie.


Caramelly Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Not Without Salt

•A note on this recipe: After much discussion my husband and I decided there was a certain something missing from these cookies. For lack of a better word, we decided these cookies needed to be a bit greasier. So next time I make them I think I’ll try adding 2 more tablespoons of butter and upping it from there. Also 1 tablespoon of milk may help here as well. Try it out and let me know!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cups bread flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips

1. In a small saucepan add the butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Watch carefully as you don’t want to scorch the sugar. It will be thick and seem like molten wet sand. Be careful, it’s hot!

2. Let this mixture cool slightly then add to a large mixing bowl and continue to cool for 20 minutes. Once cooled add the eggs and vanilla. In another bowl mix the salt, flour and baking powder. Add chocolate chips and mix well.

3. BPlace the bowl in the fridge and let chill for 30 minutes.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

5. Using a small cookie scoop, spoon the dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until just barely done. Let the cookies cool on the tray for five minutes then cool on a wire rack.

My Rock

20120407-160205.jpgThis man has been my rock over the past 10 years of our relationship. More then ever he has been amazing lately. The picture of a perfect husband during pregnancy. Reading books about the coming baby, coming to appointments, even doing what little cooking he knows how.

All that changed on Wednesday morning. Something still undetermined happened and he got sick. Not just sick, but something went wrong in his brain. He was vomiting and then became very confused. He was unable to speak intelligibly and would answer questions with incoherent nonsense. This landed us in the ER. I wasn’t too worried up until that point. He has become really dehydrated and sick in the past so I just assumed that was what was happening. When I watched a team of doctors ask him my name, and saw the pain in his eyes when he couldn’t find the words I knew something was drastically wrong. I watched him whisked off to CAT scan and MRI. Sat in the waiting room while they did a spinal tap, X-rays and and EKG. When a team of emergency doctors and neurologists are puzzled and worried, it’s hard not to panic. About halfway through this episode the thought that I may never have him back the way he was hit me. I finally broke down, realized this was serious and started calling family.

Those phone calls were almost more then I could take. It was as if by calling these people I was admitting this was real and I lost it.

After he came out of the MRI he began to come back to us. Slowly he was able to speak normally and recall names, dates and info. He said he was thirsty and hungry. He continued to vomit occasionally but the fact that he could look me in the eye and ask me if I was ok was everything.

They decided to keep him and over the next few days drew blood, took urine and did every test they could think of. Everything kept coming back normal, except for the EEG. The neurologists saw something abnormal nestled there between his brain waves. Enough to concern them. After three days they decided to let him go home, noting the risk of infection in a hospital and his desire to leave.

Although he left the hospital whatever this is has stayed with him. He’s constantly experiencing vertigo like symptoms, to the point where nausea medication is needed and he sleeps almost all of the time. The smallest things wear him out and the nausea is constant. Riding in a car is like torture, Talking on the phone, watching tv, and reading are all impossible.

So our roles have reversed, and my life is not filled with cooking and baking experiments. After spending the last three months doing almost no house work, and being taken care of, I am learning I am a lot stronger then I thought. Doing laundry and dishes, cleaning and cooking what little he can stomach are back in my life. I’ve realized I suck at asking for help from anyone outside of these four walls and I’m going to have to do so much more regularly. He can’t drive for at least three months and the next two are packed with doctors appointments and tests. Luckily we have amazing family around us who are willing and able to help in any way.

Going through this during what should be and what was one of the happiest times in our life has to be the hardest part. The focus has shifted off of the baby, and we’re no longer talking names, ultrasound and labor. It’s all nausea, EEG’s and when will our lives feel normal again. Watching him suffer and not being able to help is the most painful. Knowing there is nothing I can do to make him better kills me. I keep hoping the next time he wakes up he will feel better, I’ll get my husband back.

Tomorrow’s Easter. Last Easter I made a ham, a bunny cake and more. We had family over and celebrated the day. This year I’m just hoping for some improvement. Although I’m still thinking about making a bunny cake.

Happy Birthday!!

Today this blog turns 1.  A big fat year old.  I remember writing the first entry last year, while it was snowing.  Today it’s sunny and breezy and warm.  It’s already been 80 degrees outside this year.  Which is a little much for me.

So what have I done in a year?  Wellll a lot.  I’ve crossed a lot of things off of my 30 by 30 list, I entered( and placed!) in Iron Cupcake, I’ve gotten actual paying baking jobs, and currently I’m working on creating human life.  No biggie.

It’s been quite a year and to celebrate I’ve decided to pick my top 5 recipes from the last year.  In case you missed them or haven’t made them, here’s another reason why.  They’re really just that good.

1. Spiced Brown Butter Bourbon Ice Cream– I’m pretty sure this is quite possibly one of the fattiest, richest desserts I’ve made. And thus, one of the most tasty.

2. Lemon Raspberry Rolls– I’ve made these at least 3 times in the last year.  I love these.  More then cinnamon rolls.  They’re probably the best breakfast pastry ever.

3. Oreo Cookie Dough Ice Cream– this sort of happened by accident.  There was leftover cookie dough, left over oreos and I couldn’t think of a better way to get rid of them.  It was soooo good.

4. Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies– these have been my favorite chocolate chip cookie this year.  Moist and delicious with the salty crunch of homemade toffee.

5. Brown Butter Strawberry Bread– the bread and the muffins are so rich and caramelly when you pull them out of the oven and the overload of fruit balances the nutty brown butter just perfectly.

So if you’ve been around since I started this, you’re amazing!  I love you people. Finding comments on here and not being able to figure out whether or not I know the person makes my day.  You lovely reader, are the reason I’m doing this.  So thank you for reading, thank you for commenting and thank you for cooking and baking!!  I can’t wait to share the next pregnancy craving and homemade baby food filled year with you!