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  • One-Pan Fudge Cake

    Baked

    You’ll have to use your imaginations here …

    RING … RINNNGGGGGG …

    Me: Hello?

    SS: Hi! Whatcha doing for dinner tonight. I know the Dear One is away and you’re home alone. Come over for dinner and a movie. Just me and he kids. This way I won’t have to rescue you after you’ve done something I Love Lucy-esque.

    Me: Okay. That’s great.

    SS: Well, not just  me and the kids … 4 or 5 other people as well.

    Me: Oh? (Wishing I hadn’t answered the phone now) Sure. What can I bring? (when will I learn NOT to ask that question!?)

    SS: How about dessert?

    Me: Okay. What time?

    SS: How about an hour?

    Me: See you then.

    SS: Andrea? Don’t lock the door when you leave!

    AN HOUR? Come up with and make dessert and drive into town IN AN HOUR!? Now what am I going to do?

    Suddenly inspiration! I remembered seeing a recipe on Relish.com for a One-Pan Fudge Cake taken from the Junior League of Nashville cookbook.

    Simple ingredients. One pan. Quick to throw together. Cools in the pan. Baked in 30 minutes. I.AM.SAVED!

    Fudgey and dense, chocolatey without being too sweet, this cake is the answer to any last minute guests or dinner invitations!

    Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream is great on top of this cake.

    • 1/2 C (1 stick) butter
    • 1 C sugar
    • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1/4 t baking powder
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
    • Powdered sugar

    Ingredients

    Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 8-inch square cake pan.

    Melt butter, sugar and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat. When melted, add flour, salt and baking powder. Stir well. Add eggs, vanilla and pecans, if using.

    Pouring into pan

     

    Stir well and pour into prepared pan.

    Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into squares while hot. Let cool in pan.

    Sprinkling sugar

    When cool, dust top with powdered sugar.

     

    THAT Chocolate (cup)Cake

    Chocolate Cupcake Done Best

    Happy birthday to you!

    Happy birthday to you!

    Happy birthday, my darling chocoholic!

    Happy birthday to you!

    It’s my dear one’s birthday.

    So the move is continuing. Well, the move is pretty much over. On the dear one’s birthday, we loaded all my stuff (or shit, depending upon whether you ask me what’s in the boxes or him … thank you so much, George Carlin), drove 10 hours, and moved it all up to Bar Harbor.

    From my perspective, not a great way for him to spend his birthday. From his perspective … well, not to sound egotistical here or anything … he gets me for his birthday. My birthday follows just 5 days later, and I am thrilled to have this second chance with my first love as a birthday present.

    For him in the few days leading up to this event, there was a 10 hour bus ride to New York City, two dinners, drinks and a lunch with my folks, son and friends, his sisters and brother-in-law, renting a truck, unloading a storage room, loading a truck, driving 10 hours, unloading a truck, returning the truck 45 minutes away and finally driving home. I may be a really lovely woman, but that is a … well, that is one really sweet man.

    There will still be some back and forth to New York, but with longer periods of time at home (wow, that is so nice to say!), a bit of adjusting (especially to the cold and SNOW), and a long time unpacking and more purging.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all you do, for all you have done, and for being an anchor during this insane period of upheaval.

    Now I have this overwhelming desire to make that hellish few days up to him, do something to show how much I appreciate all he’s just done for me, and something to celebrate what is one of my favorite days of the year.

    A wonderful dinner of Steak with a Red Wine Shallot Sauce, Hasselback Potatoes, a salad on the side, a bottle of bubbly and something chocolate with a candle in it for dessert.

    I had spied this recipe months ago in The Essence Of Chocolate: Recipes For Baking And Cooking With Fine Chocolate and knew that this HAD to be his birthday cake. It’s just the two of us for dinner and an entire cake is just way too much, so I converted the cake to cupcakes, We ate a few, saved a few to have with the girls, and froze a few.

    I’m giving you the recipe the way it was written, but will add in my notes for turning them into cupcakes.

    For the Cake:
    Unsalted butter and flour for pans
    2 C granulated sugar
    1-3/4 C all-purpose flour
    3/4 C unsweetened natural cocoa powder
    1 t salt
    1-1/2 t baking powder
    1-1/2 t baking soda
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1/2 C canola oil
    1 C whole milk
    1 C boiling water

    For the Frosting:
    1-1/4 C granulated sugar
    1 C heavy cream
    5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
    8 T (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1 t pure vanilla extract

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.

    NOTE: Instead of using flour for the pans, I used cupcake liners. I was going to use butter and cocoa powder, but exhaustion took over and I changed my mind. Next time I will try that.

    Dry Ingredients

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk.

    Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.

    NOTE: If you’re making cupcakes, fill each 2/3 full. And this is REALLY soupy. I poured the batter into a measuring cup and poured the batter into the cupcake tins.

    Ready to Bake

    Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

    NOTE: Baking for the cupcakes took 25 minutes.

    While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:

    Chopped Chocolate

    In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.

    Cupcakes Baked

    Remove cakes from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.

    When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.

    Frosting

    Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.

    NOTE: I just used a metal spatula that I ran under hot water to frost each cupcake.

    NOTE: Chocolatey doesn’t even begin to describe these! The last a few days under wraps. The smiles and asking for seconds was praise for this recipe! Truthfully, I had to stop myself from spreading on anything I cold think of!

    Mini New York Cheesecakes

    Done 3

    Okay. I want to make dessert. I want to make a yummy dessert. No, strike that, I want to make a really great, turn someone into putty in your hands, yummy dessert. Wait, but it has to travel well and be easy to make. (Not asking for too much, am I?) The downside? There’s just two of us and how much dessert does anyone really want left over. And throwing away dessert is not an option.

    Enter small batch baking and the genius of Christina over at Dessert for Two. She is my go-to site for this sort of thing. These Mini New York Style Cheesecakes were not just good … they were delicious … they were phenomenal. They were so simple to make, they can be thrown together at any short notice.

    You know a recipe is successful when someone looks across the table at you, grinning from ear to ear, and the only word that could be mustered is ‘WOW’. And, yes, after that reaction, I will make these for you again and again.

    I may experiment a little and instead of the sauce Christina made, cherries, or blueberries, or … well, the possibilities are endless!

    This recipe makes 4 mini cheesecakes, using a regular cupcake pan.

    • 6 ozs cream cheese, softened
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 C + 2 T sugar
    • 1/2 t vanilla
    • 1/2 t lemon juice
    • 4 Nilla wafers (or other small cookies)

    For the sauce:

    • ¼ C sour cream
    • 2 T brown sugar

    Preheat oven to 375.

    Add 4 paper cupcake liners to a cupcake/muffin pan.

    Cookie

    Drop a cookie in each liner, flat side down.

    NOTE: I used a cookie and a half. The Nilla wafer doesn’t quite fill the entire bottom, and I’m a crusty kind of gal (no comments). I also thought that a few smashed graham crackers with butter might work.

    Ingredients

    In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat very well until combined.

    NOTE: You are going to look at this batter and think it’s just not going to be enough or too much, but it’s the perfect amount!

    Ready to Bake

    Divide the mixture between the cups and bake for 15 minutes.

    Baked

    Let cakes cool completely, then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

    NOTE: They’re a bit puffy when they come out, but as they cool they fall a bit.

    Topping

    When ready to serve, stir together the sour cream and brown sugar and pour on top of each cake.

    NOTE: I zested a bit of lemon on top of each just to make them look pretty – not that they lasted long enough to be seen as pretty. Also, I removed them from the paper liners before serving. Good thing too! Can’t have anyone sitting at the table LICKING paper cupcake liners!