Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Yesterday, the Smith clan decided to celebrate the birthday of Grandpa and Uncle Elliot in one big shin-dig.There was food.There were festivities. Oh and there was wine. Lots and lots and lots of wine.

In celebrating a total combination of 138 years, I figured we needed one hell of a cake!

I happened across a few recipes and decided to whip up something ingenious. Something wintery and minty while not leaving the mouth with that gross toothpaste aftertaste (if you’ve ever had a bad Thin Mint, you know this all too well). Thus, I settled on a Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake to wow the holiday tastebuds. While a bit lopsided, the resulting creation was perfection.

While it may take a bit of time to make, you won’t regret crafting this cake!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake

inspired by this recipe! 

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (can be soy, lactose-free, etc.)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  •  4 cups powdered  sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • pinch of salt
  • dark chocolate for garnish

Directions

Dark Chocolate Cake: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and prepare two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Next, in a separate bowl, combine milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter but be sure not to over mix .
  4. Distribute cake batter between the two pans. Bake for about 30 minute or until a toothpick  inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely before frosting.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on a medium setting until it is smooth and lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add  sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and mix for about 10 seconds
  3. After all the sugar has been incorporated, add peppermint extract, salt and mix until well-incorporated.
  4. Frost cake. When finished, grate dark chocolate over the top and serve!

Whole Wheat Veggie Naan Wraps

I’m baaaaaaack!

After a fantastic year abroad in Switzerland and a few months of a blogging hiatus, I’m officially back in the cooking game – and back in Texas! Today, I thought I might share an absolutely fantastic recipe crafted by one of my former flatmates! Say hello to Whole Wheat Vegetarian Naan Wraps!

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I’m a huge fan of these bad boys. Chock-full of protein and antioxidants, these are pretty easy to make and perfect for a summer lunch!

To start, the dough requires a little tender loving care but the result is well worth it. After combining all the ingredients found below, allow it to rise for about two hours. When ready, pinch off a medium sized bit and roll out until fairly flat, like so:

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After this, grill it in a pan with a bit of olive oil until browned. When finish, top with the veggies (and legumes) of your choice! Personally, I enjoy a bit of cooked black or red beans, spinach, tomato, and avocado but the choice is yours!

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Whole Wheat Veggie Naan Wraps

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • ½ tbsp white sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup warm milk
  • ¾ plain yogurt

Directions (from http://www.monsoonspice.com)

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm milk and keep aside for 10 minutes until it becomes bubbly and frothy.
  2. Next sift wheat flour along with sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a small well in the centre and slowly add yogurt, oil, and milk/yeast . Add little warm water if needed and kneading till you get soft pliable dough.
  3. Cover this dough with plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours till the dough rises and doubles its original quantity.
  4. Punch down this raised dough to release air and divide it into equal, lemon sized balls.
  5. Heat griddle on medium heat. Roll a dough ball in little wheat flour and flatten it. With a rolling pin, roll it into a ¼ inch thick oval.
  6. Flip the naan and sprinkle little water and gently place it on the griddle.
  7. When you see bubbles forming on the surface of naan in few seconds time flip the naan until cooked evenly

 

 

 

Coconut Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Kalua Glaze

Well, it’s rained about 40 days and nights here in Lausanne and things are looking a bit dreary. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good excuse to be all pensive, turning on the big blonde brain machine, staying indoors whist sipping a cup of tea, good book in hand while contemplating my existence. Let’s be honest though even that gets tiring after a while (am I even real? what does the word “banana” even mean?  why do we call them “toucans” and not rainbow-beaked birds?!)

To liven spirits here and elsewhere, here’s a recipe sure to find a special place in your heart, belly AND transport you to a land of tropical paradise (personally, my idea of a paradise is a land where 5’2 is a perfectly tall height and breakfast is served 24/7 but let’s not get crazy here)

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Last week, my pal David celebrated his 21st birthday and I made this cool cake, inspired by David’s love of yogurt. Absolutely loves it. I swear that kid will live to be 312 with all those probiotics floating around.

So without further ado, I present to you the aaaaaaaamazing Coconut Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Kalua Glaze

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Kalua Glaze

Serves 8-10 people

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut yogurt
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons Kalua
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, and oil.
  3. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
  4.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. While waiting for the cake to bake, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Next, add Kalua and milk in small increments, stirring until mixed together thoroughly.
  6. When the cake finishes, remove it from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Using a fork or toothpick, poke small holes over the top of the cake and drizzle with the frosting. Serve with lots of love!

If Your Cake Burns, Eat It Anyways

When things don’t exactly meet your expectations in just about any way, shape, or form, what do you do?

Are you the type that just lets it roll of your back while singing, “no worries” or some other words of super chill wisdom while gazing at an invisible Bob Marley poster OR are you the type that lets it brood and fester and rot for two days while muttering like Gollum, developing an odd case of scoliosis from being hunched over, and vowing that you’ll just never again have expectations?

I know this will probably come as shock to the eeeeeeeveryone (the sarcasm here is bounding) but yes, my name is Sarah Smith and I’m totally a 100% expectation lover.  I don’t count on just anything to meet my expectation- I like to count on ALL the things. ALL the pieces. And then, when things don’t work out as usual, comme d’habitude if you will, you can find me hunched over in my room muttering in my really horrible Gollum voice counting the ways how the situation isn’t my fault even though, well, it kinda is for my outrageous expectations.

Let me provide an example.

Yesterday I was invited to this dinner party hosted by (get ready for it this it’s a bit complicated) a work colleague of the father of my friend Drew. Being a lover of food, I asked my friend if I should bring anything, he said “aw of course”, and after some thought I decided to make a cake I heard about in one of my classes. Charlotte aux Pommes (aka the weirdest cake ever).

The afternoon went a little like this:

Stage one: chopping apples (the recipe seems quite normal at this point)

food a la fac

 

Stage two: sauté the apples with a bit of cane sugar and cinnamon (also quite normal)

 

Stage three: get 15 slices of bread and cut the crusts off (uhhhhh what?)

 

Stage four: slice the bread in thirds and use two thirds of them to line a deep baking dish (ummm okay…)

 

Stage five: put the sautéed apples atop the bread slices, top with remaining third of sliced bread, drizzle with melted butter, and bake (… but won’t my bread get soggy?)

 

So I put it in the oven and things were looking weird but good. Until of course I began to smell something like burnt toast igniting on fire and ran to the oven while forming some kind of recovery plan (can you give a cake CPR?).

I take out the “cake” or whatever it’s supposed to be and this thing is nasty looking. Nasty. The bread on top is covered in what seems to be asphalt or black paint but that’s really just the burnt bits laughing at me. After I take it out there’s complete silence in my apartment I really hope my friends aren’t thinking, “…if you have a food blog doesn’t that mean you know how to NOT burn things” or really just “…ewwwww”.

I think my friends either saw a hint of my disappointment or maybe my back hunching over and the whole Gollum bit coming out to whine and so they told me everything would be okay, to put some powdered super on the top to cover the burnt bits, and not to worry about it. But of course I worried about it.

I worried about it on the metro.

I worried about it at the door when I handed our host the cake and thought surely “He’s gonna throw this in my face I mean I’ve basically disgraced his native cuisine”.

I worried about it during delicious raclette and then when our host announced “time for Sarah’s dessert!” my heart was pounding with fear.

But that was the silliest thing because everything ended up being…well…perfect.

Once plated, you couldn’t even see the burnt bits the powdered sugar didn’t catch. The apples looked and tasted perfect and the bread had this really nice “bread pudding” effect that really made everything come together deliciously. Even the burnt bits added a nice crunch that no one would have anticipated.

 

Needless to say, I happily brought home an empty dish.

So the moral of the story is, the next time you come across something that really didn’t meet any of your expectations, do what I should have in the first place:  dust it with a little powdered sugar, hope for the best, and dig in anyways.

 

Charlotte Aux Pommes 

Ingredients:

6 apples

1 loaf rustic bread

4 tablespoons butter, melted

6 tablespoons cane sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and slice apples and then place in a large bowl. Add cinnamon and sugar, mixing until all apples are evenly coated.

2. Sauté the apple mixture over medium high head for about 4 minutes. Set aside.

3. Cut the crusts from the bread and then cut each slice into thirds.

4. Coat the bottom and sides of a deep baking dish with about half the melted butter. Line the bottom with roughly 2/3 of the bread slices.

5. Add the apple mixture and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the bread.

6. Drizzle the remaining butter over the bread and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, checking regularly to ensure the bread doesn’t burn.