Chocolate Cream Cake with Ganache Frosting

Hello there–  We are gliding into Christmas here.  Ani sent out an all family spread sheet– with arrival, exit dates for everyone.  Larry is off to do his shepherd part in the church’s Bethlehem walk for the next four nights.  Charlotte just came in the door from shopping with her dad, clutching a bag of Christmas gifts.  And I’m baking (of course!).

We had this cake with friends recently.  And I’m here to convince you to give it a try if you are responsible for dessert at a Christmas gathering ahead.  It’s deeply richly chocolate.  And the the cream filling is heavenly!  The berries are a nice little sweet touch on top– a cake fit for a Christmas celebration!!

CHOCOLATE CREAM CAKE WITH GANACE FROSTING

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 packet instant coffee

Filling:
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup powdered sugar

Frosting:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tab. butter
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 package), room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Garnish:
blackberries
mint leaves

Make the chocolate cake according to the directions on the box (mine used 3 eggs, water & 1/2 cup oil).  Add the instant coffee as you mix it up (for a little richness). Bake the cake in three 8″ or 9″ cake pans.  Cool them completely before adding filling or frosting!

To make the filling, whip the 2 cups of whipping cream, pudding mix and 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks.  Set it into the fridge to set up firm for about 15 minutes (0r more).

To make the frosting,  pour the 1/2 cup whipping cream and butter into a saucepan.  Heat it on the stove top until it starts to simmer and the butter is melted. Take it off the heat.  Drop in the chocolate chips and whisk it all together until the chocolate chips melt.  Set it aside to cool completely.

Then take the cooled chocolate mixture (ganache) and use an electric mixer to beat it together the cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar and vanilla.

To put the cake all together– Set one of the cake layers on a pretty plate.  Top it with half of the whipped cream filling.  Add the second later and top with the rest of the filling.  Add the third cake layer and the frost the top and sides with the chocolate frosting.

Set it into the fridge until to set it all up.  Take it out about 30 minutes before you want to serve it and garnish with berries and greenery (I used mint leaves because it grows like a weed in our yard).  So pretty!!

Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies (Gluten Free)

Hi Cookie Lovers– I almost hesitate to call these cookies.  With no flour and with an unusual mix of ingredients, they are more like candy!!  But what they truly are is chewy chocolaty delicious!!

Making them for my Monday ladies tonight, and trundling the leftovers up with me to visit the kids in San Francisco this week.  A grandma should always arrive with a bag of treats!

CHOCOLATE SEA SALT COOKIES
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
sea salt

Stir together the sugar, cocoa and salt,  Then stir in the eggs, vanilla and oil until it is all blended.  Finally fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon globs of batter at least 2″ apart (they really spread in the oven!) onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment (so that they don’t stick).  Lightly sprinkle with just a little sea salt on each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let them cool on the parchment to firm up before you take them off of the pan. Makes about 2 dozen.  Enjoy!!

Chocolate Walnut Pie Bars

Hi there– I sure wish you could meet my Monday night ladies.  They come in the door in around 7:00 each week.  I can hear them talking and laughing as they come up the steps.  There are hugs and cups of coffee and when I finally get them to settle in, there is time to read and pray together. It’s a bright spot in my week.

And, of course, we eat.  This week it’s these pie bars– nutty and sweet (a little like my ladies!)

CHOCOLATE WALNUT PIE BARS

Crust:
1  1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted

Filling:
3 eggs
1  1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. melted butter
1  1/2 cups chocolate chips
1  1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

To make the crust, mix together the flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Then fold in the melted 1/2 cup butter until it’s all crumbly.  Press the mixture into 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.

While that’s baking, stir together the filling– beat the 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, then stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Then mix in the butter, chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon the filling carefully over the crust, covering it from edge to edge.  Bake it in the same 350 even for 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the filling is set.  Let it cool completely and then cute into tidy bars!

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Hello there– I know, I know you shouldn’t start a new recipe with a disclaimer– But if you are a blogger (this means you, all my blog-buddies), you know the sometimes photos aren’t what you’d hoped.  But I loved these tender, creamy cupcakes!!- so I’m sending along the recipe and you’ll have to imagine how pretty (and delicious) they were! OK??

TIRAMISU CUPCAKES

cupcakes:
chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
water
1 pack instant coffee crystals (about 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. coffee liqueur  (like Kahlua)

Topping:
1 pint whipped cream
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding powder
tsp. powdered sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix the cake mix according to the directions on the box.  (Mine used 3 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and 1 1/4 cup water).  Add in the instant coffee and coffee liqueur and beat for two minutes with an electric mixer.

Pour the batter into 24 paper cupcake liners in cupcake pans.  Pop them in a 350 degree oven and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely.

With an electric mixer, beat the whipped cream along with the pudding powder and powdered sugar  –until it is stiff and set.  With a spoon, fold in the mascarpone cheese.

Top each cooled cupcake with a large dollop of the cream & mascarpone mixture.  And then dust the cocoa over the cream through a small sieve.  Refrigerate the cupcakes if you are making them way ahead…  So delish!

 

Triple Chocolate Poke Cake

Hello all– I’m wondering how many cooks out there have a secret stash of chocolate hidden away in their kitchen.  I know I do.  Tucked away in the hutch drawer, just enough chocolate for a nibble now and then when I’m flagging and could use a little chocolate encouragement.

If you fall in this same category– I think you would be fond of this cake.  Chocolate cake, laden with drizzles of hot fudge, topped with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate curls. Is that enough chocolate??  Trust me.  It’s chocolatey good.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE POKE CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
3.9 oz. pkg. instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream

Filling:
12 oz. jar of hot fudge sauce*

Topping:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tab. unsweetened cocoa (dark version best)
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 large chocolate bar

With an electric mixer, beat the cake ingredients– cake mix, pudding, mix, eggs, vanilla, water, oil and sour cream for 2 minutes until well blended and fluffy.

Spoon the batter into a 9″x 13″ baking dish (or I used a 10 1/2″ round springform pan so I could remove it from the pan for serving) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch.

When you take the cake from the oven, immediately poke holes in the top with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the hot fudge sauce into the poked holes (you may need to microwave the hot fudge  for 1 or 2 minutes to make it thin enough).

Let the cake cool completely!!

To make the topping, use an electric mixer (the whisk attachment works best) to beat the cream, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Spoon the chocolate whipped cream over the cooled cake and set it in the fridge 30 minutes or more to set well.

Use a potato peeler to peel small shavings from the shorter end of a large chocolate bar.  And sprinkle them over the cake before you serve it.  Enjoy!!

*I like Hershey’s hot fudge sauce (but you will have to microwave it for a couple minutes to make it thin enough to drizzle onto the cake.
**I always use vanilla instant pudding mix when whipping cream.  It acts as a stabilizer to the cream will hold up fluffy and firm.

Squirrel Bars


Hi friends–  Don’t ask me how this recipe got the quirky name –Squirrel Bars.  This recipe is an old favorite and dear to my heart because it came from my beloved Aunt Mary Ann.  Maybe the squirrels in my yard would like them– all those peanuts!

And I’m pretty sure you would like them too.  Quick to make and delicious as the best kind of peanut butter-chocolate cookie.

SQUIRREL BARS
1/2 cup peanut butter*
1/3 cup butter (2/3 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips (8 oz.)

With an electric mixer beat together the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then blend in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Spread the thick dough in to a 9″x 13″ baking dish** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and put the baking dish into a 350 degree oven for just 3 minutes!!

Take the squirrel bars out of the oven and swirl the melted chocolate chips into the top of the batter.  Pop it back into the oven for 20 more minute until the bars are cooked through.

Let the squirrel bars cool a few minutes before you cut them into bars– delicious with a scoop of ice cream!

*I like super chunky peanut butter — the little peanuts add a nice texture.
**In these pictures I made just half of a recipe and cooked it up in a 9″ pie dish and cut it into wedges.

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!