Chocolate Cherry Cake

Hi friends– Last weekend was a cake-o-rama around here.  My sis and I made cakes for a big family baby shower– anticipating baby Wyatt’s coming to the big wide world soon!  And our dear younger friends Travis & Bekah were married in this most hopeful happy wedding– simply beautiful.  More cake baking!

So here’s my favorite of the bunch.  Fresh cherries in the cake and in the frosting– with rich ganache and cherries on top!

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
water
canola oil
3 eggs
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted & chopped
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
6 oz. butter (1 1/3 stick)
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. amaretto (or vanilla)
2/3 cup cherries, pitted & chopped very fine

Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
1 cup chocolate chips

Garnish:
stemmed fresh cherries

Make the cake according to the directions on the box–mine used 1 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer.  Then fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into 3 –9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake them up at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes–until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely before adding the frosting!

To make the chocolate ganache, bring the cream and 2 tab. butter to a low simmer in a pan on the stove top.  Take it off the heat and beat in the chocolate chips for 2 or 3 minutes until they are melted and the ganache is glossy.  Let this cool completely before your pour it over the frosting (so you won’t melt the frosting!!)

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and amaretto (start on the lowest setting so you won’t have powdered sugar flying out of the mixing bowl!).  When that is blended, stir in the cherries with a wooden spoon until they are thoroughly mixed in and the frosting is colored a light pink from the cherries.

Frost the 3 layers of the cooled cake, stacking as you go.  When the ganache is thoroughly cooled drizzle it over the cake letting little streams pour down the sides.  Top with a mound of fresh cherries– Done! and so pretty!

Triple Chocolate Black Forest Cake

Hello all– Chocolate cake, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce with fresh cherries and cream.  That about sums it up.  Loved this rich and creamy cake and I’m hoping you will too, while cherries are at the market bright and juicy.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BLACK FOREST CAKE
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping*
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted, chopped
2 tab. almond kirsch or amaretto
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tab. powdered sugar
2 tab. vanilla instant pudding powder**
garnish: fresh stemmed cherries

With an electric mixer, make the cake according to the directions on the box (mine called for 1/2 cup oil, 1 1/4 cup water & 3 eggs).  Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or a 10″ spring form cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake according the directions on the box.  Out of the oven let the cake cool completely.  Then poke holes into the cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the ice cream topping over the cake and into the holes.  (If the topping is too thick to drizzle, put it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds).

Chop the pitted cherries and mix them in a bowl with the kirsch or amaretto.  Then spoon them evenly over the top of the cake.

Whip the cream with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until it is well set.  Beat in the powdered sugar and pudding mix.  Then spoon the thickened cream over the cake and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more to make sure the cream is firm.

Garnish with the stemmed cherries and then serve it up to friends…

*I used Smuckers Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Topping
**The pudding mix thickens and stabilizes the cream.

Happy Birthday Stu!! (and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake)

Hi Friends!! — starting off here like a blogger should never start– apologizing for the wonky photos.  But this post isn’t really about beautiful food picutres– it’s about celebrating Stu’s 90th birthday!!  He’s the best father-in-law a girls could have– and all his kids and grand-kids and great grand-kids would say the same!!  (Plus I did want to add this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe– because it was so delish!).

   


Photos:  Stu about to blow out those candles, With Helen (his wife of 68 years!) and Kathi– the party thrower!!  Plus The collection of all Stu’s local kids, grand-kids and those little greats!!  We all love you Stu!

And just in case you love chocolate and peanut butter thrown together as much as I do, here’s the cake recipe:

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs

Peanut butter frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
7 to 8 tab. milk

Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
8 oz. chocolate chips (1  1/3 cup)

Garnish:
chopped peanut butter cups
birthday candles!!!

Make the cake according to the directions on the box ( mine used 1/2 cup oil,  1 1/4 cup water and 3 eggs). Spoon the batter into three 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely before you add the frosting!!

Make the ganache while the cake it cooking and let it cool.  In a sauce pan, bring the milk and butter to a simmer.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips for 2 or 3 minutes until ti’s smooth and shiny.  Let it cool.

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla.  Then beat in the powdered sugar and chopped peanuts.  Finally addd the milk one tablespoon full at a time until it is the right consistency–  careful–it’s easy to add too much and have runny frosting!!

To put the cake together– Frost the cake using the peanut butter frosting between, on top and around the 3 layers.  Drizzle the cooled ganache over the top and garnish with chopped peanut butter cups– and candles (!!!) if you have a birthday in the family!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Hello all– This is a little chocolate banana muffin that masquerades as a fruit muffin, but really is more of a dessert.  You can make them for breakfast if you want to (no judging here!), but they’d be fine with a cup of coffee after dinner too.  Moist, rich and delicious…

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFINS
2 bananas, smashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sour cream (or unflavored yogurt)
1 egg
2 tab. unsweetened cocoa*
1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tab. cornstarch
1 cup flour

Smash the bananas completely in a mixing bowl with a fork. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla, oil, sour cream and egg.  Then mix in the cocoa and 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips.  Finally stir in the salt, baking powder, cornstarch and flour.

Spoon the batter into 10 to 12 muffin tins lined with muffin papers.**  Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips over the muffins. Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes until they are firm to the touch.

*Love Hershey’s dark cocoa
**or spray the muffin pans with cooking spray

Chocolate Cheesecake

Hi there– The problem with cheesecake is leftovers.  There is one last piece of this chocolate cheesecake calling to me from the fridge right now.  Got this recipe from a magazine 40 years ago when we were first married and with a few twists and turns have been making it ever since.  It’s a favorite.

CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tab. sugar
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 crackers)

Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese (2  8oz. blocks)
1  1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Top layer:
1 cup sour cream
2 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
garnish: mini chocolate chips

Smash the graham crackers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, until they are fine crumbs. Mix them in a bowl with the 2 tab. sugar and melted butter. Pour the mixture into a spring form pan (or deep pie dish) and pat it down flat with a spatula.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s fluffy and thoroughly blended.   Then beat in the cocoa, 1 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, eggs and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Scoop the mixture into the pan over the crust and put into a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes until it is set, but just a little jiggly still in the middle.

While that is baking, mix together the topping– 1 cup sour cream, 2 tab. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

When the cheesecake comes out of the oven carefully spread the sour cream topping over the surface.  Then pop it back into the oven for 10 minutes more.

Take the cheese out of the oven and slide a knife around the edges of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.  Let it sit at room temperature for an hour.  Then put the cheesecake into the fridge to chill at least an hour before you serve it.

*Love to use Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Simple Mocha Cake

Hi all– I’m afraid this isn’t much of a recipe– more like just a tip about putting instant coffee into your cake mix & frosting to give it a rich mocha flavor.  But I promise if you try this simple cake, you’ll have a hard time not licking your plate.  It’s crazy delicious!

SIMPLE MOCHA CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)
1/4 cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1-2 tab, water if needed
garnish:  stemmed cherry!!

 

With an electric mixer beat together the cake mix according to the directions on the package–mine used 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Them mix in the 2 tsp. instant coffee.

Spoon the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch.  Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, melt the butter in the microwave and then mix in the cocoa and instant coffee.  Then with a mixer beat in the cream cheese vanilla and powdered sugar.  Begin mixing on the lowest setting until the sugar has started in incorporate (or you will have sugar flying everywhere!).  Up the speed of the mixer to blend thoroughly.

If the frosting seems too dry, add 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of water (be careful it’s easy to add to much water and end up with running frosting!)

Frost the bottom layer.   Add to top layer and frost away the top and sides.  Add cherry and it ‘s done!

 

Sour Cream Chocolate Pecan Bread

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Hey there friends– Maybe you know what I mean. Sometimes (think 4:00 in the afternoon) I just need a little taste of chocolate and nuts.  In an emergency there is always a handful of dark chocolate chips and a few pecans from the cupboard to see me through.

But this is really a much better solution– moist and rich and the sweet crunch of pecans.  Add a mug of tea. Perfect.

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE PECAN BREAD
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 sleeve (1 tsp.) instant coffee*
1/2 cup Hershey’s dark cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk**
3/4 cup sour cream
1  1/2 cup flour
1  1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sal1 cup pecans, chopped
garnish: handful of mini chocolate chips & pecan bits

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In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil.  Then mix in the vanilla, coffee, cocoa, buttermilk and sour cream.  Next stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally mix in the pecans (you can keep a few aside to sprinkle on top of the loaves)

Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan*** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and extra pecans on top and then bake it all in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let it sit a few minutes before cutting into slices.

*The coffee doesn’t show up in the flavor, just makes the chocolate taste so much richer.
**Buttermilk substitute– 1 tab. cider vinegar added to milk to make 1/2 cup
***I used two smaller half size loaf pans.

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