Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Anytime { Chocolate Cake }

There's nothing quite like a layer chocolate cake.  
Especially one with truffle like frosting and cream cheese layers.

This is one of those recipes that the cookbook flops open to and the recipe page is splattered with tantalizing chocolate batter.

This cake is a sure thing.  It's our never fail three layer company cake; it's our last minute birthday cake; our blue day cake, even our mourning cake.  It dresses up nice for something fancy and dresses down for family potluck.  

When the Resident Photographer whipped up one the other day for some friend who had lost a wonderful mother and grandmother, she took these marvelous pictures and we decided it's time to share the recipe.

Truffle Cake

Adapted from Southern Living Homestyle Cooking Cookbook


1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cups cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups buttermilk
vanilla extract
1 (8oz pkg.)cream cheese
2 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (14oz can) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg


2/3 cups butter
5 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream

For the Cake:
Grease 2(9-inch) or 3 (8-inch)round baking pans; line the bottom with wax or parchment paper.  Set aside.

Beat shortening with mixer until fluffy; gradually add 1 1/2 cup sugar.  Beat well.  Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

Combine flour, cocoa, soda and salt.  Mix with shortening mixture alternating between flour mixture and buttermilk; beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Mix at low speed after each addition.  Beat 3 more minutes at high speed, stopping once to scrape down the sides.  Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Divide batter into prepared pans.

Beat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, and cornstarch at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sweetened condensed milk, beat well.  Add egg, beat well.  Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Spoon mixture evenly over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 9-inch pans 40 minutes.  For 8-inch pans check cakes after 25 minutes (25-35 minutes).  Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.

For the Frosting:
Beat 2/3 cup butter at medium speed until creamy.  Combine powdered sugar and cocoa; add to butter alternately with whipping cream (you can substitute 3/4 milk for cream if you like), beginning and ending with powdered sugar mixture.  Beat until spreadable.  Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.  

This make a generous portion of frosting and we usually don't use it all on the cake but enjoy it by the spoonful out of the fridge.

It's well decided now.  You need to make yourself this chocolate cake.  Whether it's a good day, a blue day, or a windy Wednesday as it is here, it's definitely a chocolate cake day.

bon appetit!

All photos by the Resident Photographer and one of her assistants Maddie.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chouquettes {Cream Puffs}

We made cream puffs for the Resident Photographer

We plotted this since her birthday last year.
I suspected they would be difficult and put it off only to discover how simply you can whip up a batch of these babies!

Live and learn, I suppose.

I used David Lebovitz recipe, found here.
For french recipes I usually check David Lebovitz website.  I find his instructions honest and ingredients usually translated from grams to cups, thank heavens!

Apparently pastries or "chouquettes" - cream puffs, are a common afternoon snack in Paris - although most likely not smothered in whipped cream as ours were.

The pastry was easy to whip up and I didn't try very hard for evenly sized puffs.  I brushed them with egg yolk and milk, sprinkling them with coarse sugar after, as instructed but the sugar cooked faster than the puffs and sort of burnt.  Apart from that they were perfect and the flavor wasn't ruined by the topping - just less attractive. 

Try them!  
You more than likely have the ingredients in your cupboard!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hibernation {explored}

I know I've been absent for some time.

Instead of going over the all the reasons why I'm just going to say I'm back.


That said.  I've taken on a new project.  I've bought a camera.  As you can see I've got a ways to go.  But life is simplified when you have a lovely (tall) younger sister who will (mostly) obligingly pose for you (and consequently let you put up her hair and pick her outfits :).

Now if I can just get the resident photographer to slow down so I can catch up! 

See, isn't she cute.

We took a vacation to the mountains in January.  Idaho was missing snow until our getaway weekend.  We bundled into a cabin to watch movies, eat comfort food and knit,

and take pictures of course!

Have a whimsical week!