Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Monday, October 31, 2011

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

I really love cake.  Maybe this is something that doesn't really need to be said, since most people would probably say they love cake too.  I can take or leave pie, though.  No offense to all of you pie lovers, my husband being among them, but I just find it too much work to make the crust.  I'd pick a cake any day.
That's not to say that it's a "piece of cake" to make a cake.  Oh, I suppose you could get out a cake mix and a jar of frosting and call it good, but I wouldn't.  I have had some pretty tasty doctored up cake mixes, so I'm not saying they're all bad, but if I'm going to make a cake for a special occasion, I really want it to shine. I want to be wishing I could eat another deep, dark, chocolatey piece, instead of choking down something sweet, but mostly tasteless. Sometimes that means putting a little extra effort into making the cake and frosting.   
Therefore, I think you really need to have this recipe in your repertoire.  It's a moist chocolate cake with a deep chocolate frosting.  It ought to be screaming "CHOCOLATE!" with a pound of chocolate in the frosting alone!
So, don't be intimidated by this recipe.  Just embrace it and know that in the end you're going to have something so delicious that you'll be willing to do whatever it takes to get that last piece.  And if you're only cooking for yourself or a small family, don't let that stop you!  I've made a lot of friends and had very thankful  neighbors by simply cutting pieces of cake and delivering them around the neighborhood.  Enjoy!
tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), very soft, plus extra for greasing pans
1 3/4
cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces), plus extra for dusting pans
ounces unsweetened chocolate , coarsely chopped
cup Dutch-processed cocoa (3/4 ounce)
cup hot water
1 3/4
cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
1 1/2
teaspoons baking soda
teaspoon table salt
teaspoons vanilla extract
large eggs
large egg yolks
ounces semisweet chocolate , finely chopped
tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
cup sugar
tablespoons corn syrup
teaspoons vanilla extract
teaspoon table salt
1 1/4
cups heavy cream (cold)


1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-round by 2-inch-high cake pans with softened butter; dust pans with flour and knock out excess. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.

2.     Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Replace whisk with paddle attachment. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans; smooth batter to edges of pan with spatula.
3.     Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45 to 60 minutes.
4.     TO MAKE FROSTING: Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, heat butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Increase heat to medium; add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with heatproof rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Add melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream to clean bowl of standing mixer and stir to thoroughly combine.
5.     Place mixer bowl over ice bath and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and just beginning to harden against sides of bowl, 1 to 2 minutes (frosting should be 70 degrees). Place bowl on standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with rubber spatula until completely smooth.
6.     TO FROST CAKE: Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly across top of cake with spatula. Place second cake layer on top, then spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Cut into slices and serve.

     Source: Cook's Illustrated by way of my friend, Kylee.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Potato & Leek pan fried

Submitted by Lisa

The picture just doesn't do it justice!  The potatoes cooked like this are soooo yummy!  I hope you give it a try.  Very easy to make and quick.  These potatoes are the number 1 request of the kids.

8 potatoes washed
2 leeks (or 2 medium yellow onions)
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
2 tbsp butter

Roughly chop up the potatoes with the skins on.  Slice and wash the leeks or chop the onion into a fine dice.
Put 3 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the potatoes and leeks/or onion.  I like to use a frying pan with a lid so I can put the lid on at the beginning to help cook the potatoes.

Stir them often.  When basically cooked through, keep the lid off and cook until you get a bit of a crisp edge on them.

Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  

Take off the heat and stir in the butter and mix around until melted.  
**You should add salt and pepper as you go and to taste**

Serve it with any type of meat, we had grilled pork chops this time.  
(to change it up a bit you can add in chunks of zucchini or squash)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Souffle' Pancake

Submitted by Lisa
This was really fun.  I found this recipe in the Food Network Magazine October 2011.  I just recently got a cast iron skillet also....perfect timing!  Really easy to make and a nice change of pace.  
The recipe called for topping it with an apple pear compote.  I topped it with a bit of powdered sugar and homemade raspberry rhubarb jam which I have aplenty!

4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c half and half (I used skim milk)
3/4 c all purpose flour
1 tsp grated orange zest (didn't use because I didn't have it)
2 tbsp fresh orange juice (didn't use because I didn't have it)
1/2 tsp almond extract
confectioners sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Melt the butter in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Transfer 2 tbsp butter to a blender.  (reserve the rest in the skillet off the heat).  Add the eggs, salt and half and half to the blender and blend.

Add the flour and blend until smooth.  Add the orange zest and juice and almond extract and blend.
Heat the skillet with the reserved butter over medium high heat, swirl to coat.  
Add the batter, transfer to the oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Top with a fruit compote, or butter and powdered sugar, or a bit of jam and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

Often when I decide to make a dessert, I immediately think of something chocolate.  Not always, though.  There are times I let slip in a cream cheese lime pound cake or a caramel apple cheesecake or the like.  And I always enjoy those non-chocolate desserts immensely.  Not necessarily more than chocolate, but in a different way. So when I was in one of those non-chocolate moods, which my husband really appreciates since he doesn't care much for chocolate (pity!), I saw these yummy bars.  I knew I had some butterscotch chips in the pantry just waiting to be used, so I whipped up a batch of these lovelies.  And they were delicious!  I don't make butterscotch desserts often, but it was a really fun and tasty detour from the usual.  And the oatmeal gave these bars a nice chewiness.  Give them a try - they're a perfect autumn treat.

*Makes 18-24 bars
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, letting the foil hang over the each short edge by one or two inches. Lightly grease the foil with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Place the 3/4 cup butterscotch chips in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and let the butter cook until golden brown in color, about 10 minutes, taking care not to burn. Pour the hot butter over the butterscotch chips and whisk together until melted and smooth (Have patience!  It will come together). Whisk in the brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, just until incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, spreading the batter evenly to the edges. Bake the bars until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 16-18 minutes.
While the bars bake, place the 1/4 cup butterscotch chips, brown sugar, water and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the mixture until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes on 50% power. Whisk to combine well.
Drizzle the glaze over the warm bars. Let the bars cool completely in the pan. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil overhang and cut into squares. Serve.

Source: melskitchencafe.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homemade Spaghetti sauce

Submitted by Lisa

( I used this on top of a spaghetti squash!  It was delicious )

My sauce:

about 10 tomatoes seeded and peeled.
1 green pepper diced
4 leeks sliced and washed (you can use onion, maybe 1 large one)
5 garlic cloves
2 tbsp beef bullion paste
1 tbsp chicken bullion paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley


  • Cook the tomatoes in a pot until they fall apart.  
  • Mean while, slice and wash the leeks and saute in a pan with olive oil until soft.  Add to the tomatoes.
  • Saute the finely chopped pepper in the olive oil.  When softened, add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute or so until fragrant.  Add both to the tomatoes.
  • Continue cooking the tomatoes down, on low to medium.  I used a potato masher to smash them up more once they were really soft.
  • Cook it for about 45 minutes or so, stirring often, to reduce the liquid and intensify the flavors.  
  • Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes, you may need to adjust the lemon juice.  Add the spices and, cook for another 10 minutes and enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

Submitted by Lisa

I was given a spaghetti squash by my sister Hannah.  I have never used or eaten one before. So, I thought it was time to give it a try.  Last night I finished canning my tomatoes and had some left when I ran out of jars.  I decided to cook it down into a spaghetti sauce.....and use it on my new squash!

So today was the day.  I cooked it up and topped it with my homemade sauce and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  I really liked it and the whole family liked it except my 9 year old.  He didn't care for the "squash" part.  : )


1 spaghetti squash


spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce.  Either home made or heaven forbid store bought!


  • Pierce the squash all over with a fork or skewer.  Place it into a baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 or until a fork goes into the outside of the squash easily.

  • Cut it in half length wise and scoop out the seeds and throw those away. 

  • Take a fork and use it to "shred" the inside of the squash.

You are now ready to top it with what ever sauce you like!  Enjoy

My sauce:

about 10 tomatoes seeded and peeled.
1 green pepper diced
4 leeks sliced and washed
5 garlic cloves
2 tbsp beef bullion paste
1 tbsp chicken bullion paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley


  • Cook the tomatoes in a pot until they fall apart.  
  • Mean while, slice and wash the leeks and saute in a pan with olive oil until soft.  Add to the tomatoes
  • Saute the finely chopped pepper in the olive oil.  When softened, add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute or so until fragrant.  Add both to the tomatoes.
  • Continue cooking the tomatoes down, on low to medium.  I used a potato masher to smash them up more once they were really soft.
  • Cook it for about 45 minutes or so, stirring often, to reduce the liquid and intensify the flavors.  
  • Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes, you may need to adjust the lemon juice.  Add all the ingredients by now and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Submitted by Lisa

My sister Hannah grew a field of pumpkins out by my place, some of which are baking pumpkins.  Well, I had never tried making anything out of a fresh pumpkin before so I thought I would give it a try.  It was so simple.  I looked online to make sure I was doing it correctly and all you have to do is cut it in half, remove the stem, scrape out the seeds and bake it in the oven cut side down until it is tender.  Then scrape out the soft insides and you can either use it right away or freeze it for later.
It makes a very moist flavorful cake and my oldest son said 
"This is incredible!"  

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (I used fresh pumpkin and weighed out 15 oz)
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 c oil and 1/2 c applesauce)
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar (I used 1 c brown and 2 white)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Source:  www.allrecipes.com   Submitted By: Laurie Bennett

Friday, October 7, 2011

Raspberry Rhubarb Jam

Submitted by : Lisa
I started making this jam this summer by accident!  I had purchased meat in the amount that over took my freezer!  I was frantically emptying it out and force feeding the kids ice cream so I had more space.
After all the meat was tucked in the freezer nicely I turned around to find that I had no space for my frozen rhubarb or frozen (hand picked) raspberries!  
I had jars and pectin sitting on the counter staring me down so I decided to see if I could find a recipe that made jam out of them.
After much searching, I found one that we absolutely love!  I have shared it with others and they too love it.  The little "twang" that the rhubarb gives the raspberries is just delicious.  I hope you love it just as much!

2 (10 oz.) packages frozen raspberries, thawed
1 lb. fresh rhubarb, cut in 1 inch pieces (4 cups) (I used rhubarb that I had picked and frozen)
1 (2 1/2 oz.) package powdered fruit pectin
5 c. sugar

(note:  I could not find powdered pectin in that size package. I double my recipe and I use 3 boxes of the 1.75 oz size and it turns out great)

In large kettle, combine fruits. Stir in the pectin. Place over high heat, stirring until mixture reaches a hard boil. (I use a potato masher to smash the rhubarb into smaller pieces when it is really soft)
Immediately stir in sugar. 
Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
Remove from heat. Using metal spoon, skim off foam; stir and skim for 5 minutes. 
Quickly ladle into 6 hot scalded 1/2 pint jars; process in water bath for 10 minutes.

Source:  www.cooks.com 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad

Submitted by Melanie

  • Ok this salad is so yummy! I had some friends over the other day for lunch and thought this would be a great salad to serve. I was so glad that I did. My friends loved it. It has been so hot here in Texas that I don't want to make anything that will heat up the kitchen, or that will make me feel even more sluggish. This salad is a great option. The flavors are great and it is very light.


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 (8 ounce) package dried rice noodles (I used Chow Mein noodles)

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce - rinsed, dried, and chopped

  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and sliced

  • 3 green onions, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

  • 1 can of Mandarin oranges

  • 1 red bell pepper


Prepare the dressing 30 minutes ahead of time by combining the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, salad oil, and rice vinegar in a salad dressing carafe (I mixed all the ingredients for the dressing, brought it to a boil and cooled in the fridge for about 30 minutes).

To prepare the Chinese rice noodles, heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of oil and break off a little bit of the noodles and add them to the skillet and fry them. They will puff up in the skillet, so only add a few at a time. As they begin to puff up, remove and drain them on paper towels. Be sure to cook long enough as the under cooked noodles will be like eating needles. Once cooked, add them to the salad mixture.

In a large bowl combine the iceberg lettuce, cooked and sliced chicken, green onions, Mandarin oranges, red bell pepper and toasted sesame seeds. Let chill about 10 minutes, and just before serving add the cooked rice noodles. Serve in salad bowls and offer the dressing in a pourable container so your family can add as much dressing as they want. You can also pour the dressing over the top of the salad, toss, and serve immediately.

Source: Allrecipes.com

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ginger Cupcakes

I needed to make some mini cupcakes for a wedding reception and these turned out really nice.  Very good flavor and with the cream cheese frosting (  vanilla bean cream cheese frosting )  they were a huge hit.  I put a piece of candied ginger in the center and it looked like a little flower.  It was a nice finishing touch with the added benefit of a bit of texture.

I found this recipe on www.marthastewartweddings.com  (her recipe uses a rose glaze to top them)

Cupcake ingredients:

3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c cake flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter room temp
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 c milk
2 tbsp crystallized ginger chopped

1.  preheat oven to 350.  Line standard muffin tin with paper liners.  Sift together flours, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
2.  With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale, about 4 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Beat in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk *beginning and ending with flour*.
3.  Stir in crystallized ginger until mixed in.
4.  Divide into cupcake liners filling halfway.  Bake until golden and set, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to rack and cool before frosting.

Vanilla bean cream cheese frosting

**I made them into mini cupcakes, cook for less time depending on oven, 
maybe check them at about 12 to 14 minutes**  

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

I used this recipe for the ginger mini cupcakes I made and it was a perfect match!  This could be used on so many different cakes, I hope you enjoy.

From www.melskitchencafe.com

*makes about 4 cups of frosting*

1/2 cup butter softened to room temp
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temp
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract  ( I used a whole vanilla bean )

In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese together until it is light and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Mix in the vanilla, (or the bean scrapings).

Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix in fully after each addition.

Cream at low speed until well blended and creamy.

Pour in the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is light and fluffy.