Sinfully Delicious Chocolate Cake

FOR THE LOVE OF CHOCOLATE!

Its HumpDay guys! And boy do I have something decadent for you.

Okay, most know that I have had a secret love affair for many years. But the secret is out and I am not ashamed to say, I L O VE CHOCOLATE! It should come then as no surprise that chocolate is apart of my daily life like breathing. In some shape, fashion or form, this cocoa goodness makes an appearance.

So instead of just a cup of hot chocolate today, I decided to share the love with my in-laws during “Nachtisch” (German for dessert after dinner). Come on, who doesn’t love chocolate?

I have tried a few recipes and as you guess, some were no so great. The thing is, when using different textures of chocolate in a cake, you have to make sure the right ingredients in the correct amounts work well together for the particular outcome you want to achieve. Not all products work together.

But I think I have found the perfect combination and have been using this recipe ever since. This is the most moist, flavorful chocolate cake you will ever make.

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Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup canola oil**
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup coffee (strong)*
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate (melted)

Chocolate Ganache (optional)

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans and set aside.
  2. In the microwave, melt half of the chocolate 45 seconds to 1 minute (microwaves vary in temperature), remove from microwave, add the remaining half of chocolate and blend until melted. Set Aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, then pour in remaining liquid ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute then add melted chocolate and beat for another two minutes; the batter will become thin.
  5. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for  square and rectangular pans or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack for another 10 minutes
  8. For the chocolate frosting, I found a very quick and easy buttercream frosting by Savory Sweet Life that I used Chocolate Buttercream Frosting .
  9. For the ganache, chop chocolate in to pieces and place in a medium bowl. In a sauce pan, heat milk in a sauce pan, bring to a boiling. Add milk to the chocolate. Allow to set for 5 minutes before stirring. Decorate and design with chocolate as you choose. I used a spoon to drizzle the ganache.

Note:

  • Coffee is optional. You can use water in its place if so desired *
  • You can use vegetable oil **

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This truly is sinfully delicious. Just one slice will not be enough.

 

Tenderloin w/Celery Puree Crust

 

I’ve found that the most juicy tender cuts of meat are the boneless ones. In my house there is no bias. But for this recipe, having a boneless cut not only helps the meat to cook evenly, but also gives a perfect succulent finish. Delicious steaks can be cooked perfect even on a stovetop.

With a few perfectly placed ingredients, you can create a delicious, mouth watering meal in under 45 minutes. Grilled seasoned veggies kick up the health value of this already scrumptious dish. Potatoes also complement well if prepared the correct way as not to over power the meat.

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I had a craving for Brussel Sprouts. So I sautéed up a few to enjoy with this unbelievably taste tenderloin.

Serving 4 Portions /Preheat Oven 400°F

Ingredients

Celery Puree

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ Celery Root (peel and diced)*
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

Tenderloin

  • 4 Portions Tenderloin Steaks (5 oz each)
  • Salt
  • crack pepper
  • 2 tablespoon melted butter

Preparation

  1. For the Celery Puree – Brown the butter in a pan, then set aside. In another sauce pan, heat heavy cream on medium high, then add celery. Cook for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add in butter a bit at a time. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir until creamy but not too soft. If needed, at a bit more cream.
  2. For the Tenderloin – Preheat a heavy skillet, cast iron pan or stove top grill. Season steak with salt and pepper. Add melted butter to skillet. As the butter begins to brown and smoke, place in steaks, 2 at a time and fry for 2 minutes each side. Please note, skillet and stovetops vary in heat, you may need to fry less or more depending on your preference of doneness. When done, place on a baking tray.
  3. Stack celery puree about 1cm to 2cm high on the prepared steak. Place tray on the middle rack in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. For a more crusted effect, mix some bread crumbs, parmesan and butter together and sprinkle on the top of the puree before baking.
  4. Remove from oven and allow meat to rest before cutting into it. Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

* In some areas it is difficult to find celery root. However, a puree can be made from Cauliflower or Turnip following the same process.

What good is a fine piece of meat without delicate red wine. I always peer tenderloin with a soft Cabernet Sauvignon that is much milder than the regular bold flavors we are used to. But if you are looking for the perfect match, try a Pinot Noir.

Guten Appetit!

Braided Apple Strudel Made Easy

If you love Apple Pie like I do, then you would really appreciate this one. This is one of those quick easy dessert recipes that you must simply have in your rolodex.  It has all the taste of a traditional strudel, but with half the work in half the time.

The secret to easy is puff pastry! Puff pastry can be used in a number of ways from the simplest of dishes to the more intricate appetizers and desserts. When you are short on time this is the way to go.

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So Strudel is a European dessert, more specifically an Austrian pastry made of thin dough rolled up with fruit filling and baked. The name Strudel is actually a German word meaning “whirlpool”. It refers to the technique of rolling up the fruits in the dough. That makes sense 🙂

Well like the saying goes, when in Germany, eat Strudel. Or is it? Anyway, being in Germany it seems only natural to make a Strudel instead of an apple pie. I will save that for another post. So here we go!

Recipe yields 6 portions. Preheat oven to 375° F, 175° C

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large apples peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup almonds/walnuts sliced (optional)
  • ¼ cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry, thawed

Instructions:

  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and grease and flour lightly.
  • In a bowl pot, mix together apple slices, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, flour, almonds (if using), raisins (if using) and 3 tablespoon water. Cook on medium low heat for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat and allow to cool.**
  • Floured flat surface and roll out dough*
  • Cut dough into 2 equal squares.*
  • Place the apple mixture down the middle of each prepared dough leaving a 2-3 inches on both sides free.
  • Cut 9 to 10 evenly spaced incisions into the dough on both sides. Try to cut them parallel to each other.
  • Begin folding one piece at a time alternating sides in a downward design creating a plat/braid. At the end, you can either tuck in the braid or allow apples to spill out.
  • Gently put strudel on baking sheet with the seam side down.*
  • Mix egg and remaining water. Brush on strudel.
  • Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool before sprinkling with powdered sugar.
  • Serving with ice cream, vanilla cream, fruits or whatever you like.

Notes

** This step was my preference for this recipe. You do not have to cook the apples. Simply combine all ingredients minus the water and place on center of the stretched dough. I just like the buttery taste of cooked apples.

*  I did not stretch the dough on this recipe. I unfolded the dough and cut into 2 pieces and places directly onto the baking sheet to avoid any accidents because the warm apples softens the dough.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know how yours came out.

Easy Thai Curry Soup

I’m a creature of habit. At least when it comes to foods I love. Twice a month we would order Asian take-out. Without fail, I order the same Thai Curry Soup every time. I once made the mistake of saying to the hubby, I want to try something else. And that something else he brought home, lets just say it won’t make a second cut.

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I decided to test my skills in the Asian arena. Ordering in can become costly, so this homemade coconut curry soup was just what I needed. The infusion of curry spices and coconut milk adds so much depth and flavor to this soup. What I like most is that it is simple to make. I used ingredients I already had on hand and it came out perfect. In this particular recipe I use shrimp. However you can opted for whatever protein you choose; pork, chicken or tofu. Whatever your indulgence, this cost friendly version is worth it. Recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or grape seed oil
  • ½ pound jumbo shrimp, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 small carrots (optional)
  • 6 small mushrooms halved (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • pinch red chili flakes
  • 1 can bamboo shoots (optional)
  • 2 lemongrass sticks ( can substitute w/lime juice)
  • 3 tablespoons curry paste or powder
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • cilantro/basil for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil, add rice and continue to boiling for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat until ready to serve. if you are unsure how to gage, prepare according to package instructions.
  2. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add shrimp, salt and red chili flakes. Stir occasionally and cook until shrimps are pink about 3 minutes; remove from pot and set aside.
  3. In the prepared stockpot add onion, minced garlic, bell peppers, carrots and ginger. Cook until tender about 4-5 minutes.  Add curry powder/paste to pot and stir together with vegetables until well combined.
  4. Gradually add the coconut milk and stock, stirring constantly until completely incorporated about 3 to 4 minutes. Add fish sauce, bamboo shoots and lemongrass, stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until thicken about 10 minutes. Allow the lemongrass to infuse its flavor.
  6. Remove lemongrass shoots, stir in shrimp and rice (we prefer rice on the side in the event all is not consumed) If using lime juice in the absence of lemongrass, add here.
  7. Garnish with cilantro or basil
  8. Serve!
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Taste like more!!!!

The lemongrass is what gives it that subtle citrus flavor that takes it over the top.

Let me know what you think. I would love to hear how your soup came out.

Smooches!