Dark Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting + Happy Birthday to Me!

My tradition of ugly but delicious birthday cakes continues…

A cake decorator I will never be.

Dark Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting...easy, yummy, moist, perfect for a birthday or special occasion | easy cake recipes, birthday cakes, chocolate cake recipes | #cake #recipe #chocolate

This cake, however, is suuuuuper delish.  I really wasn’t feelin’ it this year.  I was so tired and stressed that I didn’t even know if I wanted to bother making something.  My birthday was on a Tuesday (blah) in a super crazy week (among other things we were moving offices, had big deadlines, and I was getting ready to leave the country), and I knew it would be a super long day.

So looked for something simple but that really tugged at me.  And, man, peanut butter and a dark chocolate stout cake can get me every time. [Read more…]


Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

A month ago I was crowing about the glorious chocolate stout cake with chocolate ganache I made for my birthday. It was fudgy and rich but not too sweet, with a depth from the stout. Basically perfect. Then, a couple days later, my friends asked if I could bring a dessert to their dinner party. They’re both gluten-free, and I have a number of go-to recipes. But I couldn’t get that chocolate cake out of my mind.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Quinoa Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I knew I’d pinned a gluten-free quinoa cake months ago, but didn’t quite love the exact ingredient proportions. I found another, tweaked it a little, and used the same chocolate ganache as the other cake. I took the remaining three-fourths of my birthday cake and the quinoa cake to the party. I had to label them because they were identical, and honestly, I think people liked them equally. The only real difference you could tell was that the quinoa cake didn’t have the stout (on account of the gluten), but I plan to adapt it for a bourbon or similar at some point—just have to do my research on gluten and alcohol. And there was still some of the whole quinoa in it since my blender isn’t great, but if you use a food processor it will puree it and you’d never even know. [Read more…]

Birthday Red Wine Chocolate Cake!

I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.
~W.C. Fields

Sometimes I have incredibly coherent, well-phrased, occasionally-beautiful thoughts. And then sometimes, like when I saw this recipe for the first time, I just blurt things out.


Red Wine Chocolate Cake slice

That’s pretty much how that conversation went in my head.

Last year my birthday fell on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which was very sad from a food and wine standpoint. This year, it fell on the 8th day, the day after the Feast of Tabernacles, and unfortunately I spent the majority of it in airports and airplanes trying to get home from Steamboat Springs. I did get to have a lovely dinner with my parents the night before, however, and brunch with my mom that morning before I left. And I happened upon a lovely wine bar (Cru) during my 3-hour layover in Denver and celebrated in my own way—with flights of Cabernet and some creamy tiramisu. So not all was lost.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I started a little ritual last year for my birthday, where I’d pick a dessert recipe that had really captured my imagination for some reason—maybe it felt a little fancy, needed a special occasion, was a little more work—and make it for my birthday. Except, scheduling being what it is in my life, it basically ends up being somewhere within a month window of my birthday. Which is kind of the same thing. I just wanted something that felt a little special, and an excuse to make something fun. Last year it was my vanilla almond cupcakes with homemade peach jam filling. And this year it’s this awesomeness.

Growing up, birthdays weren’t really a big thing. But to me, I like to make a tiny bit of fuss for it. Not go overboard, but just a little something special.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake Baked

This cake really is special. First, there’s the Dutch cocoa (vs. regular), which has so much more depth than regular cocoa powder. Then you add the red wine and a hint of cinnamon, and this cake just perfectly encapsulates indulgence. It’s everything that’s great about being a grown-up. It’s rich but not sweet, super moist but dense, just amazing.

[Read more…]

Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes

It’s Mother’s Day here in the States, and I’d planned to do a post on my mom’s coffee cake recipe, which is the best thing ever and perfect for Mother’s Day brunch or breakfast in bed. Alas, I’m still getting used to the lighting in my new kitchen and I HATE the pics I took of the recipe, so I’ll have to make it again (I know, the sacrifices I make…). So in lieu of cinnamon-sugar goodness, I bring you gooey, chocolatey goodness.

easy chocolate lava cake finished

I adapted this from a lemon white chocolate lava cake recipe my mom and I tried a few months ago. What’s great about these vs. a lot of chocolate souffle-like recipes is that you don’t end up wasting gobs of egg whites or egg yolks due to separation, and they’re not temperamental at all (no sad, deflated souffles here!). Also, they are the easiest thing ever and take under a half hour from start to finish. And with them being chocolate, they’re a total crowd-pleaser.

easy chocolate lava cake finished4

Want proof that these are the easiest, fastest thing ever? Well, a few months ago, when I tried the recipe for the first time, I had my family in town and a friend over. We’d made a big, elaborate dinner and were sitting on the couch in a food coma, drinking wine and talking. I got up and went into the kitchen—open kitchen, I might add, so they could see me—made these and put them in the oven, then came back to the living room and sat back down. About 10 minutes later, my mom goes, “Should we go ahead and get dessert going?” “It’ll be ready in about 5 minutes,” I said. They couldn’t believe I’d thrown this together in mere minutes with no fuss at all. [Read more…]

Black Magic Chocolate Cake

You just can’t go wrong with chocolate cake. When I’m asked to bring a dessert to a dinner and I don’t know everyone’s preferences, I usually default to chocolate cake because WHO DOESN’T LIKE CHOCOLATE CAKE???

black magic cake finished

I’ve been trying to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe (and have been fairly successful). First I tried this one, which was awesome. I wanted to try this one since it had coffee in it (the other had vinegar which helped make it fluffy). I loved both, but I think this one was better. Practically foolproof.

black magic cake finished un-iced

black magic cake coffee

The secret ingredient in this cake is coffee, which brings out layers of flavor in chocolate without actually adding a coffee flavor to the cake.  [Read more…]

Easy, Awesome Chocolate Cake

I was having a friend over a couple weeks ago, somewhat unexpectedly, so I decided I needed a dessert to go with the big dinner I was cooking. Generally when I choose a dessert, it’s fruity or light, but knowing him, it HAD to be chocolate.

Naturally, I browsed my Pinterest boards to see if a quick solution presented itself. And I found this recipe, which billed itself as “the best chocolate cake”. Let’s put that to the test, shall we?
[Read more…]

Saturday night dessert (Dark Chocolate Lava Mug Cake)

I know I did a post on mug cakes a while back, trying out a few different recipes. And I have some new ones to try too, which I’ll get to later. But I wanted to do a separate post on this cake because it is awesome. It’s the best I’ve found so far, and the thing I like most is that it doesn’t taste too sweet or rich. With the dark chocolate, it’s the perfect balance of sweet, bitter, and creamy.

As I’ve established in other posts, I don’t keep desserts in my apartment, because I have an insane sweet tooth and would weigh 300 pounds. That way if I’m craving something, I either have to go somewhere and get it (which, let’s face it, I’m way too lazy to do) or make something (which takes time and energy, so I have to REALLY want it). Mug cakes fall into a dangerous area, because they only take five minutes to make, which is practically like keeping something in my pantry. But I can’t quit them.

This here bad boy is my preferred Saturday night date.

Amazing that this many different ingredients can fit into a coffee mug.

[Read more…]

Pretty darn authentic Italian (Cucina Asellina)

I had a lovely girls’ dinner with my friend Shalya yesterday evening. Knowing my admitted snobbery about authentic Italian food (I pretty much refuse to eat at most “Italian” restaurants), she took me to this fairly new restaurant in Midtown Atlanta called Cucina Asellina. It’s only been open a few months, right at Peachtree & 12th. The menu is “rustic Italian”, and is a nice mix of seemingly-lighter (in weight if not in calories) takes on traditional Italian dishes.

We were giddy while perusing the menu. After ordering a bottle of lovely sauvignon blanc (which wasn’t on the menu), we ordered a few appetizers. The one I was most excited about was the pizza with truffle mushrooms, fontina, and an egg. It was glorious—light, with a richness from the truffles and a saltiness from the egg and fontina.

[Read more…]

Too good to be true? No, too legit to quit (Microwave Mug Cakes)

I’m one of those people who believes that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There’s always a catch.

I also love dessert, but pretty much don’t keep anything in my apartment except raw ingredients. So that way, if I’m craving dessert, I either have to make something (which takes time and effort) or go out to get something (which also takes time and effort). Probably 98% of the time I talk myself out of it by sheer laziness because I can’t decide exactly what I want, which my waistline appreciates.

So the idea of mug cakes is both brilliant and frightening, and also makes me a little skeptical. I love the single-serving aspect, since any time I bake a batch of cookies or cupcakes I end up eating half of them. I love the idea of something that takes less than 10 minutes to make. But is it legit? I decided to try a few out and see…

[Read more…]

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