Chocolate Chip Crumb Pound Cake

I have come to the forgone conclusion that we are the most disliked people in our neighborhood.

Not by the neighbors, mind you…. by the HOA. The association seems to have issues with us, starting with the motorcycles parked in the driveway. Apparently that’s against regulations.

Really? A motorcycle parked in your own driveway? I mean, these are nice motorcycles, not broken down junkers with the tires removed, parked on blocks, leaking oil and creating an eyesore, a la “Sanford and Son”. So after we received several not-so-nice notices where legal action was threatened if we didn’t move them out of sight, J put them into the garage and we were technically “in compliance” once again.

With the bikes, anyway.

Yesterday, I received a notice that we are once again violating their perfect community because our trash can was visible from the street.

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seriously.

I (we, really) am counting the days until the ranch house is complete………

Chocolate Chip Crumb Pound Cake – adapted from Bake or Break

For the crumb topping:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

For the cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the crumb topping:

Combine flour, brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until the mixture is moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs in 3 portions, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond extract.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until combined.

Transfer half of the batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the crumb mixture evenly over the batter. Top with remaining cake batter. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top of cake batter and press gently into the batter.

Bake 1 hour 35 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack.

Banana Blueberry Crumb Muffins

It always makes me so happy when a food related experiment turns out successful, because lately, I’ve had quite a few “mishaps” in the kitchen.

Mishaps sounds so much nicer than incidents or accidents. 

But we really don’t need to bring those out into the open, do we? Well, probably not…….. however, since there are no secrets here, I will tell you that in the last 4 days, I’ve made two dinners that didn’t turn out well at all (i.e. almost inedible), burned out the motor on the drinker mixer, broke one of the good drinking glasses, and cracked a plastic serving bowl in half.

The last mishap (there’s that word again!) resulted in a large quantity of potato chips flying across the kitchen floor, which then resulted in two dogs desperately racing around, trying to eat as many as they could before I was able clean up the mess.

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Now, of course, the pups have taken to staring at the top of the refrigerator where the chips are stored, in the hopes that one of the bags will take an unfortunate tumble to the floor. I’m half expecting to see these two jokesters appropriate a kitchen chair to climb up and help themselves.

I think it might be time to install a camera in the kitchen……

Banana Blueberry Crumb Muffins – adapted from various online sources

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of ripe, mashed banana
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¾ cups flour

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, cinnamon, and flour. Pour the butter over top and using a spatula, mix until large crumbs form.

To make the muffins:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 jumbo size muffin cups with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and bananas until blended. Add the dry ingredients and blueberries, and gently stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle on the crumb topping. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 large muffins

Triple Malt Chocolate Cake

It’s been awhile since I made a completely decadent, over the top dessert.

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And I think I succeeded, don’t you? Seriously, this was a great afternoon project, not complicated or difficult to make at all. The hardest part, really, was finding the Whoppers candy.

I’m not even kidding. 

The market down the street didn’t have them, and the gas station mini-mart around the corner didn’t have them. I was getting concerned and ready to scrap the project when I FINALLY discovered them at Target. In the “movie theater candy” aisle. Am I the only one that was not aware of this aisles’ existence? Since when does movie theater candy require its own aisle?

I know, I know, some questions just don’t need to be answered.

On a separate, completely unrelated topic…… we all survived the first week of school. Well, some of us more than others, as Sabrina managed to come down with a cold within the first two days.

That’s talent, kid…..

 Triple Malt Chocolate Cake – adapted from Chow

  • 2 cups malted milk powder
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Malt Frosting
  • 1 cup malted milk balls, coarsely chopped

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat 2 (8-inch) cake pans with baking spray (the kind with flour added). Set aside.

Combine the malted milk powder, flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Set aside.

Combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla in a separate large bowl and whisk until combined and smooth. Add a third of the flour mixture and whisk until just incorporated. Add half of the milk and whisk until smooth. Continue with the remaining flour mixture and milk, alternating between each and whisking until all of the ingredients are just incorporated and smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cakes start pulling away from the sides of the pans, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each and turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

To frost, place a cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard round, a tart-pan bottom, or a cake plate. Evenly spread about a third of the frosting over the top of the layer. Stack the second layer and evenly spread another third of the frosting over the top and sides of the whole cake. Place in the refrigerator until the frosting is set up and slightly hard, about 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, ensuring it’s as even as possible. Press the malt balls into the frosting around the sides of the cake and serve.

 

Heirloom Bakery Coffee Cake

Coffee cake. On a Sunday morning. With coffee, no less…

And to quote Ina Garten, “How bad could that be?” It wasn’t bad at all, because if the truth be told, it was delicious! This is one of those recipes that I will make again and again, as the cake was tender, the splotches of chocolate/cinnamon were heavenly, and I enjoyed it so much that I am seriously looking forward to a piece tomorrow morning, with my coffee (no pun intended), before I take the posse to school. You know Sabrina will be a senior this year, right?

Starting her last year of high school. Last year. Of high school. Did I mention it’s her last year?

Oh lord.…..

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Heirloom Bakery Coffee Cake – adapted from L.A. Times

Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tbs. all purpose flour

1 tbs. cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Set aside.

Cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9-inch square pan by butter and flouring and/or line it with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and blend together. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter.
Spoon half the batter into the 9-inch square baking pan and smooth out with an offset spatula. Top with half the topping. Add the remaining batter and smooth out. Finally, top with the remaining topping.
Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.

Oreo Cream Cake

Sometimes, in an effort to make things simpler, they must first become more convoluted.

Confused? Yeah, I was too at first....

However, after a brief consultation with my trusted consultants (aka Mom and Dad) , I realized that the housing plan I have concocted is, in fact, solid. It seemed overwhelming at first when I thought of all that I had to accomplish, and like a whole lotta extra work… until I broke it down into manageable steps, that is. After all, as my father put it so succinctly, we (meaning J & I) are “up against the wall” with the builder for the ranch. Things aren’t progressing as we had hoped (read: not progressing at all) and it has become quite evident that nothing is going to happen for awhile.

That was a long-winded way of saying we are going to be stuck in the rental home for a lot longer than we thought. 

But, as we’re oh-so-fond of saying, everything happens for a reason, you just don’t always know the reason at the time.

Which begs the question, why is there a random goat living at the ranch? What purpose does he serve? What is his reason for being there?

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Aside from glaring at me with his velociraptor-like eyes….. It’s creepy, I tell you.

On to a nicer subject, thankyouverymuch…..

Making this delicious Oreo-based dessert might seem overwhelming due to the number of steps involved, but I assure you taking the extra time to prepare the homemade chocolate pudding, and using real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip is well worth it.

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And it’s not hard to guess who I had in mind when I made it…

Oreo Cream Cake – adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Crust
1 (15.35-ounce) package Oreo Cookies, plus a few more for garnish
½ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Chocolate Pudding:
1 recipe homemade chocolate pudding, prepared and chilled

Topping:
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Place the Oreo cookies in the bowl of a food processor, and process until fine crumbs form.  Pour into a bowl, add the melted butter and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch pan and press into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate while the cheesecake layer is prepared.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream. Using an offset spatula, spread the mixture in an even layer over the crust.

Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate pudding in an even layer over the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the whipped cream over the pudding layer, and sprinkle with additional Oreo crumbs. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Let me tell you something about this cake.

You might want to make it … and soon. Really soon.

It’s that good.

It’s so good, in fact, it converted a vegetable-hating teenager into a vegetable-tolerating teenager. Vegetable-tolerating in cake form, that is. And this is the same teenager that tells me he isn’t much into sweets. Of course, he has repeatedly asked me to make him Tirasmisu again (which I just realized I haven’t posted yet), because he loved it so much when he had it at our house for our Easter dinner.

And they say women are contradictory?

As if…

And for your viewing pleasure, we have two views today…

Bad light:

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Better light:

P1000411Chocolate Zucchini Cake – adapted from Mother/Daughter Dishes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini, packed
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

 

Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a Bundt pan then set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a large bowl to remove any lumps, then set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, add eggs and beat on high speed for about 2−3 minutes with a hand mixer while gradually adding the sugar. The mixture will be pale yellow in color and have a thick, creamy consistency. Next, add the oil, applesauce and melted butter and beat thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and the shredded zucchini to the egg mixture and fold gently by hand until combined.

Pour the batter evenly into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour before testing for doneness. The cake may take up to 75 minutes to bake but you’ll know it’s done when a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for approximately 20 minutes before removing it from the pan. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

 

Chocolate Frosted Marble Cake

I didn’t realize that marble cake came with a set of rules.

Well, not so much a set, just one in particular.

No icing. 

Apparently it is persona non grata in this house, which perplexes me to no end. In fact, I have only one response to it…..

WHY?! Why can’t marble cake have icing? Is there some unwritten rule that it must be plain? Because quite frankly, it looks naked without it, in my slightly seriously biased chocolate-icing loving opinion.
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Well, icing-dislikers aside, when I saw this recipe on Anna’s site last Friday, I found the inspiration I was looking for. The cake itself is texturally perfect – tender and light, and even though it requires cake flour, do not be tempted to substitute regular all purpose flour. I agreed with Anna that it’s just not the same, even though it necessitated a trip to the store for me, as I was completely out.

So…bottom line…. consensus says, make this again, just leave the icing off.

And being the rational girl that I am, I’m willing to meet them halfway.

I’ll simply ice half the cake for me :)

Chocolate Frosted Marble Cake – adapted from Cookie Madness

Yellow Cake Batter
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Chocolate Cake Batter
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
Favorite Chocolate Frosting
  • 8 tsp of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tbs of sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sift or aerate before using
  • 3/4 cup natural style cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • Whole milk as needed
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Spray bottom only of a 9×13 inch glass baking pan with baking spray.Have ready two large mixing bowls. In the first bowl, mix together all dry ingredients for the yellow cake batter. In the second bowl, mix together all dry ingredients for the chocolate batter.
Make the yellow batter first. Whisk the 2 eggs, yolk, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the milk together in a small bowl. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mash it around, then stir in the egg mixture until it’s as blended as you can get it. Add the remaining ½ cup buttermilk and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth.
Repeat the same procedure with the chocolate batter. Whisk the egg, vanilla and all the buttermilk together in a small bowl. Add the butter to the dry mixture and mash it around. Add the egg mixture and blend it as much as you can, then add the coffee and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth. Now you should have a bowl of vanilla batter and a bowl of chocolate batter. The chocolate batter will be very thin.
Pour about half of the vanilla batter into the pan. Pour chocolate batter over the vanilla, then drop spoonfuls of vanilla batter of the chocolate, allowing parts of the chocolate batter to show through.
Bake the cake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely, then frost with a generous layer of Chocolate Frosting.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter, sour cream sugar, cocoa, salt and 2 tablespoons of the cream as well as you can, then beat with a hand-held mixer until pasty and thick. Continue adding milk until you get a nice, smooth, spreading consistency. Spread over the cake.