Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Buttercream, Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Buttercream, Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Frosting

Today’s offering is two fold.  The first is a moist, not to sweet chocolate layer cake filled and iced with a raspberry buttercream icing from the Butter Baked Goods cookbook.  I would like to take credit for this delicious cake but my only contribution was eating a slice and licking my plate clean.

My friend Jayne has made this cake 2 times now to rave reviews so it is definitely a keeper.  As she baked the cake up in 8-inch tins not the 9-inch recommended she also got another half dozen cupcakes from the batter.

The second offering I came across while looking at pretty cupcakes on Pinterest the other day.  A chocolate cupcake topped with what looked like a baked peanut butter cookie caught my eye. Very cool, very cute  and relatively easy to recreate for a chocolate peanut butter lover.  The cupcake was actually topped with a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache (milk chocolate or semi-sweet would just be a little too sweet) and then the PB frosting is shaped to look like a homemade cookie with the tine markings and all.

Cupcake topped with Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Frosting.

Cupcake topped with Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Frosting.

So with only having to make ganache and frosting plus take a few photos I have more time to share a few things with you today.  Oh, did I mention no mixer required for the cake.  Only a little arm strength but the cake still comes out beautifully if you do find you need a little mixer assistance.

Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line the bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups hot coffee (any blend)

1 cup dark cocoa

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the hot coffee with the cocoa until smooth.  Set aside and let it cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Add the cocoa and coffee mixture and gently whisk to incorporate.  Add the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.  Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Frost with Butter’s popular icing:

2 cups butter, room temperature

4 cups icing sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons pure vanilla

Add in 2 tablespoons raspberry puree or seedless raspberry jam if you want Raspberry Buttercream

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until very pale in colour.  Stop mixer and scrape down sides.  With MIXER ON LOW add in the icing sugar.  Mix until well combined then slowly add milk and vanilla.  Scrape down bowl as needed.

Turn the mixer to high and beat for at least 10-12 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy.

Measure out 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate and pour over 1/2 cup heated whipping cream.  Let sit for about 2 minutes and whisk until smooth.  Set aside.

Mix together 4 tablespoons room temperature butter and 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter until mixed and smooth.  Add in 1 1/2 cups icing sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Shape into small balls and press down with fork dipped in icing sugar to form criss cross.

Spread cupcakes with a thin layer of bittersweet ganache and top with a frosting cookie.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Ganache with Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate Ganache with Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate Nut Upside-Down Cake and Since When is Segregation O.K.?

Chocolate Nut Upside-Down Cake and Since When is Segregation O.K.?

Chocolate Nut Upside-Down Cake

Chocolate Nut Upside-Down Cake

Today’s chat is about gender equality in Canada.  I think we pretty much take it for granted.  You know, there are sports teams for boys and girls, co-ed teams, women playing hockey in the Olympics, women dentists, women lawyers, etc. etc.

What many young people don’t know and we tend to forget is how long it took to get to this point, for women even to earn the right to vote.  It was a battle for a woman to break through the glass ceiling in business and become a V.P. or an executive with the same salary and benefits as a man.  A bank wouldn’t give a woman a mortgage if she didn’t have a man to co-sign for her.  So if you were single, didn’t have a living male sibling or parent, you had no one to sign for you so NO financial transaction.  How about back in the day, not so long ago, when, say for example, your husband was abusive…you couldn’t divorce him as he would take your children and you had no legal ground to stand on.  This really was not such a long time ago.

So how come the Government of Canada, including Kathleen Wynne, are supporting gender segregation based on a few Islamic men refusing to be in classes or courses with women.  Isn’t Kathleen herself a woman?  I’m sure she has had to fight a few battles to be taken seriously as a woman in politics so how come she supports this gender segregation (or should we just call it what it is…discrimination against girls and women) as do some universities, such as the University of York to name just one.  Remember all it takes is 1, yes 1, to start change whether it is negative or positive.

Now before you get the wrong idea I am not against anyone’s religious beliefs or against anyone Muslim.  The interesting thing is probably most Muslims in this country are not even for this.

Think about how you would feel about these things:

Pretend you put your daughter on the school bus in the morning and upon her return in the evening she informs you she now has to sit in the back of the bus, where all the girls now MUST sit, since one of the boys refuses to sit with the girls.  This boy is new to Canada.  Other new immigrant kids on the bus sit with all other children but this one boy says he cannot so the issue goes to the school board and they rule everyone must be segregated based on sex when riding the bus.

Pretend you sign up your kids for an Akido class. You know, as does everyone signing up for this class,  it is a Japanese discipline.  You take it for that reason.  To learn a martial art form with different traditions. In this class you must bow to the Sensai and bow to your other class mates as part of the class and out of respect.  All is going fine until a new boy signs up.  He will not participate with the girls and refuses to bow as required.  He only bows to HIS GOD.  Suddenly the class must change and the boys must be segregated from the girls and although everyone else bows and follows the rules of the class this new kid changes everything for everyone.  The class must be segregated by sex.  Complaints are made but it doesn’t matter as apparently this 1 individual causes NEGATIVE change for all.  What about democracy or majority rules?!

Example 1 is fictional but example 2 is a fact.  Could you imagine if someone tried to do the above to a person of colour or a handicapped individual in Canada.  Why, the outrage would be overwhelming (as it should be)!  What bugs me the most is how a few make a noise and everyone runs scared and refuses to stand up.

You think I’m blowing hot air.  Check this out.  Oh and it is International Women’s Month so let’s not forget what we have and not let a few take it away!!

So how does this lead to chocolate with a nutty caramel topping….I’m annoyed and irritated and the only way to sooth my soul is with something chocolate and a trip to the kitchen to bake.

Put these together and you have a yummy chocolate cake that you flip over onto a plate shortly after removing from the oven with the caramel and nut topping already in place.  Just wait for it to cool a little and you can dig right in.

Serve as is or add a little vanilla ice cream.  This is a delicious cake and impressive looking.

Hummingbird Blondies & The Upside of Memory Loss

Hummingbird Blondies & The Upside of Memory Loss

Baked to Perfection Blondies

Baked to Perfection Blondies

As I have confessed in previous blogs I am addicted to several things, one being new and shiny baking books.  This week I was shopping  HomeSense near the aisle’s full of brightly coloured dishes, pretty containers of Easter sprinkles and pastel coloured cupcake liners, when a baking book caught my eye.  New and unspoiled with a little black hummingbird on the cover and some artfully arranged cupcakes on the cover.

Oh! Ah! A few simple sweet recipes worth trying out.  Hmmm, a faint memory, I think I’ve seen these yummy photos before.  So needless to say today’s recipe is courtesy of my copy (the one I had purchased several years ago) of  The Hummingbird Baking Book.  Blondies-the white chocolate version of a Brownie.  Easy, simple and no mixer required.

So how can my current memory lapses have an upside.  Well it is like the cloud with the silver lining.  So many books and shows are new again.  Just like the baking book.  Opening it up each time is a new experience.  So I’m saving money by not having to buy something new!  Then there are all the Law and Order episodes and Criminal Minds I get to watch again and again and again.  I recognize the plot, recall some of the facts while the endings are a surprise each time!  No need to erase the episodes from the PVR .  Just wait a few days and voila! it’s a  new show again.


What I don’t understand is how I recall things like Bobby Sherman and David Soul playing in a show called Here Come the Brides way back when. Before David Soul became a star and heartthrob playing in Starksy and Hutch.  I did have to toss my love for Bobby Sherman aside when David Cassidy hit the scene in “The Partridge Family”.  Totally useless information I know, but why can I remember all these details but cannot remember my mental grocery list if it has more than 3 items on it.  Oh well, something to ponder another day when I recall it is a bit of an issue.

So let’s go onto the Blondie recipe for today.  I used 5 oz of good quality white chocolate for this recipe but you can use white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate.  Just remember white chocolate is very fragile and you need to make sure you melt it over a low heat and stir it until smooth.  If it seizes up chances are it is burnt and will need to be tossed.


5 oz. white chocolate

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 cup of pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease and line an 8 x 8-inch square pan.

Melt chocolate and sugar in large bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.

Add in the sugar and stir until well blended.  Add in the eggs and mix well, then add in the vanilla.  Add in the flour and the salt and mix until combined.  Fold in the pecans.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the centre is still soft.

Blondies ready to share!

Blondies ready to share!

Butterscotch Toasted Walnut Pound Cake

Butterscotch Toasted Walnut Pound Cake

A little sunshine for you!

A little sunshine for you!

No, this pic has no bearing on tonight’s recipe.  It just reminds me of the warm weather and sunny skies I left behind in Mexico this past weekend.  Since the last time I looked out the window the snow was falling, again, and the temperature was dropping, again, I thought sharing a little sunshine would be nice.

Caramel by Carole Bloom

Caramel by Carole Bloom

Now on to our Butterscotch Toasted Walnut Pound Cake.  This recipe is from one of Carole Bloom’s great books, ‘Caramel’.  I resisted as long as I could before ordering this baking book since I still need to bake my way through the other 75 or more books I have.  But anyone that knows me well knows I hung on as long as I could before the overwhelming urge for delicious, new baking ideas presented on shiny pages with colourful photos became to much to bear! Let’s get started on this beautiful, moist, pound cake with toasted walnuts and some toffee bits. Just follow the photos below for step by step instructions.

Beautiful!  Nicely risen and studded with walnuts and toffee pieces. Butterscotch Toasted Walnut Pound (2) Butterscotch Toasted Walnut Pound

Butterscotch toasted walnut pound cake

Butterscotch toasted walnut pound cake

Butterscotch Toasted Walnut Pound Cake with my modifications Preheat oven to 325F.  Parchment line and spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. 1/2 cup toasted walnuts 1/2 cup toffee pieces 2 cups cake flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup packed brown sugar 4 eggs 3 tablespoons milk or cream 2 tsp vanilla Using an electric or stand mixer cream butter well.  Add in brown sugar and beat together until well creamed, scraping down sides of mixing bowl.  Add in eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each and scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding each egg. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  In a small bowl combine milk with vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk/vanilla to creamed mixture alternately, starting and finishing with flour in 3 additions, and mix together.  Fold in your walnuts and toffee bits. Fill loaf pan with batter and smooth top.  Bake approximately 50-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely and slice into 10-12 slices.  Enjoy!