Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Black Forest Cake Day! March 28, 2011

Filed under: Berries,cake,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,holiday,Parties — hmills96 @ 10:00 am

My foodie fame at work goes beyond my delicious weekly offerings. It actually started long before my first pitch-in. We have a special, in-house instant messaging system that allows us to not only talk to people at my branch, but also the St. Pete location.

We cannot access Facebook and Twitter, and I almost hate to admit this…when I first started my new job I was having social networking withdrawals. Plus, I wanted to get to know the people I was working with. There’s a status update feature on our IM system. One day, I updated my status to tell everyone Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

The rest was history. If I don’t post an update every morning, I get 10 IMs asking what the food holiday of the day is. It’s started quite a few discussions–What’s your favorite soup/candy/pop? Every day its something different.

Today is National Black Forest Cake Day! I knew I had to make something for this holiday. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I turned this recipe into one of my trifles–it’s easier for me to transport to Indy without the whole thing falling apart. But feel free to make this into a layer cake as it was originally intended!

Black Forest Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light

2 cans cherry pie filling
2/3 cup cranberry juice
1 Tbsp Chambord

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Cool Whip (I used two small tubs to make the trifle, you won’t need nearly as much to make the cake version)
1 Tbsp Chamboard (use Kirsch if you can find it)

Combine cherry filling, cranberry juice, and 1 Tbsp Chambord in a saucepan. Stir over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cake pans heavily with PAM or line with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In your mixer, combine butter milk, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Mix until well blended.

Pour batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool.

Mix together Cool Whip with 1 Tbsp Chambord or Kirsch.

Layer cake, cherry filling, and Cool Whip either in a trifle dish or on a cake plate. Garnish top with cherries and chocolate curls.


Beatty’s Chocolate Cake July 4, 2010

Do you have a recipe that you wish you had more excuses to make? I definitely do. The cake recipe below is to die for. I have dozens of different recipes for cakes in my binder that will probably never be tested, because whenever I have the reason to bake a cake, I pull this one out. I have to. I crave it constantly. Unfortunately, there just aren’t that many reasons to bake a huge, rich, expensive layer cake around here. And I’ll tell you now, this does not translate to cupcakes well. I don’t know why, but it does not work.

Since J’s birthday is Monday, and he was off work yesterday, I decided to throw him a last-minute party. Unfortunately, it was too last-minute and only a couple of guys came, but he had fun just the same. There are reasons I know that. I won’t share them here.

You’ll see a couple of new recipes over the next couple of days. Of course I made Buffalo chicken dip. J won’t let me have a party or go to a party or even THINK about a party without making that dip. I think he ate most of it himself! I also made watermelon margaritas and pico de gallo (the remains of which will be turned into¬†guacamole for dinner today). And this cake. Oh this cake. I just had a piece for breakfast. And as a rule I never eat cake for breakfast. Hey, at least I had a few pieces of watermelon first. So it’s like breakfast dessert right? Right?!

I wish I could claim this recipe as my own, but I cannot. I think most of us in the food world will agree that Ina Garten is a master in the kitchen. I love her recipes. This one is by far my favorite (but you couldn’t tell that could you?). The only change I’ve made to it is to use 1 cup instant coffee instead of 1 cup freshly brewed. If I’m going to use instant in the frosting, what’s the sense in making a pot just for one cup in the cake? I don’t think it affects the flavor at all, but definitely do what you prefer.

One more note before I give you the recipe. The key to this is to use high quality chocolate. Don’t skimp and use store brand cocoa or standard baking chocolate. Use the best that your grocery store offers. For me, that’s Ghiradelli, on both counts. If you can get better than that, do it. Especially in the frosting. The frosting is the best you’ve ever tasted, and it’s quality matches that of the chocolate that goes into it.

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa

For the Cake:

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice with 1 cup milk, let sit for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment (this is important, these cakes stick like crazy), then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low-speed until combined.

In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With mixer on low-speed, slowly add wet to dry. Add coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula (because this batter is so liquid, some of the heavier stuff gets stuck on the bottom, make sure you mix that in).

Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake tester comes out clean. For me, it’s best to err on the longer time, these cakes will fall if not cooked long enough.

Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack or wax paper and cool completely.

Place 1 layer (the less pretty one), flat side up on a cake pedestal. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on top and down the sides of the cake.

Not the prettiest piece but I wanted you to have a cross section. Look how moist!

Chocolate Buttercream
From Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa

6 oz good semisweet chocolate (I use Ghiradelli 60%)
1/2 pound butter, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp very hot water

Chop chocolate and place in heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until its light yellow and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, beat 3 minutes. Turn mixer to low, gradually add powdered sugar, then beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Dissolve coffee powder in 2 tsp of hottest tap water. On low-speed, add chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

**Note–One thing I do with this recipe, because I don’t often have reason to make a big layer cake, is turn it into a trifle. Make the cakes and frosting as above, but don’t assemble. Crumble cakes into small pieces. In a trifle dish or large glass bowl, layer cake, frosting, and homemade whipped cream. Decorate the top with cake crumbs or crushed Oreos. This is great to take to potlucks–it’s easier to serve large crowds, and it goes a lot farther!

**Another Note–This is a cake that needs to take all day, or at least most of the afternoon. Don’t rush this, or it won’t turn out. That’s actually how I discovered the trifle thing, because I rushed and the cakes fell apart. Plan ahead, you won’t be sorry.


Happy Veteran’s Day! November 12, 2009

Filed under: cake,Military,NaBloWriMo — hmills96 @ 2:25 am

Applebee’s for dinner tonight…yum! They were offering free entrees for soldiers, so J. and I met another couple there after work. Unfortunately, our waitress was very ignorant. She asked the guys if they were in the Army, but once the answer was yes from both, she said “but you guys aren’t vets.” A. told her that “Well, yes, actually we both have been to Iraq, so that would make us veterans.” She actually had the gall to tell him again, that NO he was not a vet!

At this point, I was ready to walk out. J. and A’s girlfriend were just kind of sitting there but A. and I are both pretty fiery. We were clearly offended. The longer the conversation went on, the more she put her foot in her mouth. It was just bad all around. Finally, she went to get our drink orders and stopped talking to us. She came back later and apologized if “we took her the wrong way.”
While I understand what she was getting at, this kind of attitude is exactly what I was talking about in my last military post. These guys worked their butts off over there, and if we just shake them off like they don’t matter, they are going to continue to suffer. We have to treat them like they really are veterans who are serving our country. They deserve that respect. It’s a different kind of war, but they still deserve that respect.
Ok, enough ranting. I promise this isn’t going to become a normal thing, it’s just something about this week I think. This is something that I’m passionate about, but I know you guys don’t come to my food blog for a bunch of one way rants about military stuff.
However, I am going to share a great recipe for all you military supporters out there! These are so easy to make and will make a soldier’s week. I bet if you ask your pastor, he can tell you soldiers to send them to, or there are all kinds of organizations online who have units to mail care packages to. Try these soon!
Soldier Jar Cakes
1 Cake recipe (can be box mix or homemade)
1 pint ball jars and lids
Make cake batter as recipe calls for it. Pour batter into jars. Only fill to about 1/2 full, otherwise the jars will overflow and you won’t be able to get the lids on. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake is completely cooked. Remove from oven and immediately screw lids on. BE VERY CAREFUL AS JARS WILL BE SUPER LAVA HOT!!! Leave on counter to cool, jars will seal on their own. Once completely cool, pack carefully in a shipping box with jarred frosting and plastic silverware.
An idea–if your soldier is having a birthday, pack candles and, party hats and noisemakers with the cake. It seems really silly and juvenile to a 20 year old male here at home, but trust me, the bored soldier in Iraq will LOVE it. J. turned 21 in Iraq, so I packed a 6 pack of root beer with his cakes, since he couldn’t have real beer (alcohol is forbidden in Muslim countries).
Also, if you do have a soldier overseas, go to, they have special care package kits for free for military families. They will send you packing materials for free. I STILL have rolls of packing tape from those kits. They will also send you flat rate boxes and customs papers. You will have to pay postage, but it cuts way back on shipping materials!