Tag Archives: cocoa powder

Grandma’s Birthday Cake! (White Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)

12 May

Two weeks ago my grandmother turned 87. Eighty-seven. That’s exactly three times older than I am now. And damn is this lady kickin’. She wears gold tennis shoes and plays bridge, can carry on a conversation about medical reform or the latest best seller, and always dresses with style. She raised four children (one of them my father so I know she has fortitude) and completely holds the history of our family in her head. Everyday, and particularly this Mother’s Day, I am grateful that I live close enough to visit her on a regular basis. So when we put together a celebratory BBQ in her honor I jumped at the chance to make the cake.

Now if it’s not chocolate, my family doesn’t really consider it dessert so I knew I needed at least a partially chocolate cake. Personally, I’m not a fan of chocolate cake so I decided to save the chocolate delish for the topping. Instead, I found the most excellent “Perfect White Cake” recipe at iambaker.net.

Usually I’m not a fiddlely baker. And by that I mean it annoys me if there’s more steps than just throwing things together. But the key to this awesome cake was the egg whites – so fluffy!

First you have to mix together some milk and 6 egg whites (I never know what to do with the left over yolks…), plus almond extract! The other key ingredient! It was in both the cake and the frosting and most everyone commented on it.


Then you mix together some cake flour (I used all purpose but sifted it), sugar, baking powder, and salt.


Add the butter. Oh, the butter.


Next, you add most of the milk mixture, mix a bit, and add the rest.


Pour batter into prepared cake pans. My cake plans are about 10-inches so I had to reduce the bake time a bit.


But they turned out lovely!


I followed the frosting recipe here for the Chocolate Buttercream and ended up making one and a half batches. I mean, I may not like chocolate cake, but I’m a huge fan of chocolate frosting. Plus I had a bit to play with my frosting tips.


All packed and ready to travel! Happy Birthday, Grandma!


The Perfect White Cake (from iambaker.net)

Everything you’ll need:

  • 2-1/4 cups flour (cake flour recommended)
  • 1 cup milk at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (=3/4 cup)


  1. Combine the room temperature milk (1 cup) and egg whites (6) with the almond (2 t) and vanilla (1 t) extracts in bowl and mix with a fork until blended.
  2. Mix the flour (2-1/4 c), sugar (1-3/4 c), baking powder (4 t), and salt (1 t) with an electric mixer on slow speed.
  3. Cut the butter (1-1/2 sticks = 3/4 cup) into cubes and add to the flour mixture.
  4. Add all but about 1/2 cup of milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 1-1/2 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining milk and beat for another minute.
  6. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake – about 20 minutes for 10-inch pans but adjust according to your pans.
  7. Allow to cool completely before assembling and frosting!

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (from savorysweetlife.com – she has super cute pictures, check them out!

Everything you’ll need:

  •  2 sticks (= 1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR 1 teaspoon almond extract (I went with almond) 
  • 4 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream


  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer, then add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder (1/2 cup) and mix until combined (start slow and then increase speed).
  2. Add the extract, salt (1/2 t), and milk/cream (4 T) and beat for 3 minutes.
  3. Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed to get the right consistency.

Chocolate Stout Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting

5 Mar

In celebration of the Sacramento Beer Fest last Saturday and in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day I decided to make this cake. The girls and I needed something sweet to come home to after an afternoon of beer “studying”. Saturday morning I woke up early to bake. The problem though, with baking a chocolate stout cake at nine in the morning is that you have to find something to do with the leftover ingredients…. This cake was a bit involved, as all cakes are, but 100% worth it.

The original recipe is called “Guinness Stout Cake” but seeing as I had a chocolate stout in the fridge that I wanted to taste in anticipation of the April beer dinner I used it. It was sooooo good! Like drinking chocolate soda. No bitterness or overt beer flavor. I even think that some of my non-beer loving friends would embrace this beer.


Now, I always love recipes that start with “Cream the butter and sugar together” but I think I found an instruction that one-ups it – “Place the butter and stout in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts.” Butter and beer! Oh my goodness!


While the butter was melting in a rich and delicious butter-beer mixture….


…I mixed together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and set aside.


Then, I beat together the eggs and sour cream.


Next, I added the stout mixture, followed by the flour mixture.


Just as I was admiring the pretty light brown color of the mixture I realized  it really shouldn’t be that light…. something was missing. Oh that’s right – the cocoa powder I was suppose to add to the butter-beer mix! Maybe I shouldn’t have finished the leftover ingredients… I threw in the cocoa powder at the last minute, gave it a good mix, and crossed my fingers. Of course after that I was so distracted that I simplely poured the batter into the buttered & floured pans forgetting to take pictures of the now correctly colored batter…

…and baked the two layers to chocolate-y perfection.


After the cakes have cooled it’s time for the frosting! The Baileys cream cheese frosting!


My frosting did not come out great – there were still little clumps of powdered sugar – but damn was it good.


Two pictures good.


I frosted the first layer but should have put more on – the inside could have used more Baileys delish.


Frost and decorate!


This cake was really, really good. Super chocolate-y (thank you chocolate stout!) and super dense and moist. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day you need to celebrate beer!

Chocolate Stout Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting

The original recipe was found at Brown Eyed Baker.

Everything you’ll need:

For the cake-

  • 1-1/2 cups stout or dark beer
  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (don’t forget!)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the frosting-

  • 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 7 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar


For the cake-

  1. Place the stout (1-1/2 cups) and butter (1-1/2 cups) in a large saucepan and heat until the butter melts.
  2. Remove from heat, add the cocoa powder (1 cup), and whisk until smooth. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  3. Whisk together the flour (3 cups), sugar (3 cups), baking powder (2-1/4 t), and salt (1 t) and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs (3) and sour cream (2/3 cups).
  5. Add the stout-cocoa mixture and mix to combine.
  6. Add the flour mixture and mix together, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  7. Divided the batter between two greased and floured pans and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the frosting-

  1. In a mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese (16 oz), butter (1/2 cup), and Baileys (7 T) until completely smooth and combined.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar (6 cups total) on medium-low speed until all the sugar is added.
  3. When the cake has completely cooled, frost.

Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

14 Feb

I don’t think there’s a better combination than peanut butter and chocolate. When I was a kid one of my favorite “sneaky” snacks was a scoop of peanut butter out of the jar and a glass of chocolate milk. So, when I ran across this recipe for a peanut butter and chocolate cookie, I knew I needed to try it! Not only do these cookies have peanut butter chips, they also have a bit of peanut butter right in the batter. Perfect!

First, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. I actually did this in a separate bowl this time to make sure the cocoa powder was mixed in well. Usually I just throw the dry ingredients in after the wet.


Next, use a mixer to beat together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.


Add the egg and the egg yolk (and don’t drop half the egg shell in like I did!). Then add the vanilla.


Then, add the flour mixture and mix it up.


Best part – add the peanut butter chips. The bad thing about the Reese’s brand peanut butter chips is they come in a 1-3/4 cups bag. I have no recipes that call for that number of peanut butter chips or any logical division of that. So usually I’m left with part of a bag of peanut butter chips. The good thing, I’m left with part of a bag of peanut butter chips and no good use except to eat them!


Drop the cookies onto a cooking sheet (I LOVE parchment paper – I use it all the time now!) and bake those babies!


I found the dough to be stickier than normal and was a little worried that the cookies would spread out too much or otherwise be a disaster but they turned out great.


If being Valentine’s day and all, I baked a batch of these, a batch of my new favorite cookie, and a batch of these weird strawberry cookies and packaged them up for my co-workers. There was A LOT of sugar in the office today, but I think everyone enjoyed them.


Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

I found the original recipe at handletheheat.com here. (Super cute name, right?)

Everything you’ll need:

  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips


  1. In a bowl mixture together the flour (1-1/4 cups), cocoa powder (1/3 cup), baking powder (1 t), and salt (1/4 t). Set aside for the time being.
  2. In a mixing bowl beat together the butter (1/2 cup), peanut butter (1/4 cup), granulated sugar (1/4 cup), and brown sugar (3/4 cup) until smooth.
  3. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until combined. Add the vanilla (1/2 t).
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture until combined.
  5. Mix in the peanut butter chips.
  6. Drop dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and back for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

First attempt at blogging! (Dark Cocoa Buttermilk Cake with Cocoa Mascarpone Frosting)

31 Jan
So, as this is my first attempt at blogging, and seeing how I only have a sad little point-and-shoot camera and literally no photography skills (which from reading other bogs I’ve discovered will be another new hobby I’ll soon pick up), I hope you’ll be kind.

During the second week of January I was selected for jury duty and so missed work for 4-days. Then I came back to work and immediately took a scheduled day off. And did I mention I only work there part time?? So I was feeling super guilty about the fact that I basically hadn’t been at work for over a week and decided to bribe my co-workers (and bosses, of course) into liking me again with a cake!

I found a good looking recipe on Pinterest (love!) that I wanted to try: Dark Cocoa Buttermilk Cake with Cocoa Mascarpone Frosting a la Better Homes and Gardens.

So, first you’re suppose to let the butter and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Why, I don’t know, but I did it. Then the recipe tells you “meanwhile, lightly grease bottoms of three 8 x 1 x 1/2-inch round cake pans” AND “Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper.”

Who takes 30 minutes to grease cake pans?? Do you ever do that step first? I swear it’s always the last thing on my mind. Mostly I just want to know how soon I get to eat the chocolate. Basically, I did the first step last and also didn’t use any wax paper since I mostly make round cakes in my cheesecake pans. No matter how well I grease my other cake pans the cake never comes out clean.

Next, I was suppose to stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, salt, and set aside.
Weeeeeell, being my “confident” self I didn’t exactly read the directions all the way through and also threw the sugar in there. I looked at the bowl once I realized my mistake and after contemplating if I was going to be able to scoop it out figured, “Eh.”


Next beat the butter. Check. Then, combine the granulated and brown sugar. Oops. Then I use suppose to gradually add the sugar to the butter. In mine, just the brown sugar got added to the butter — turned out this was fine. Next I added the eggs and vanilla.

After stopping to pre-heat the oven, I back-and-forth added the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the mixture in the mixing bowl. At first the mixture was SUPER dense but it thinned out considerably.


Finally the good part! I poured the batter into my two cake pans and baked them for 30 minutes.


The recipe said to cool the cake throughly before frosting so I took the opportunity to go to my local tap room — Berryessa Brewing Co. in Winters, CA. After a lingering beer with my cousins, I brought my self and my now full growler home to frost the waiting cake.

Berryessa Growler

Cocoa Mascarpone Frosting! (Oh yes, it’s good!)

The frosting was super easy and delicious. Just beat everything but the sugar together, then gradually add the powdered sugar and beat it until smooth. The recipe said to add additional milk to make the frosting spreadable and I added just a touch.

Finally, frost like a beast!

Beast Cake

Overall I think the cake turned out GREAT and the afternoon beer break was perfect. I drank a pint of the Berryessa Roadhouse Amber (and brought more home) which was just hoppy enough for me with lots of delicious, carmel sweetness. Happy drinkin’ and bakin’!

Days Adventure

Dark Cocoa Buttermilk Cake with Cocoa Mascarpone Frosting

The original recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens and can be found here.

Everything you’ll need:

For the Cake

  • 3/4 cup butter (another 1/2 cup is used in the frosting)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (another 1/3 cup is used in the frosting)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the frosting

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese) – basically 1/2 an 8 ounce container
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (another 3/4 cup is used in the cake)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (another 3/4 cup is used in the cake)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 – 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar – basically a 16 ounce box


For the cake

  1. Allow the butter (3/4 cup) and eggs (3) to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour (2 1/3 cups), cocoa powder (3/4 cup), baking soda (1 teaspoon), baking powder (3/4 teaspoon), and salt (1/2 teaspoon). Set aside.
  3. In another bowl combine the granulated sugar (1 cup) and the brown sugar (1 cup).
  4. Beat the butter (3/4 cup) with an electric mixer on medium – high speed for 30 seconds. Then, add the sugar mixture about 1/4 cup at a time to the butter, beating well until combined. After scraping the bowl, beat for 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the eggs (3) one at a time, beating between additions. Add the vanilla (2 teaspoons).
  6. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk (1 1/2 cups) alternately to the beaten mixture, beating on low until just combined after each addition. Beat on medium – high for 20 more seconds.
  7. Spread the batter evenly into greased pans. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (For round pans back about 30-35 minutes and for a 13 x 9 pan bake about 45-50 minutes.)
  8. Cool the cakes throughly before frosting.

For the frosting (Make 3 cups; 1/2 recipe for sheet cake)

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat the mascarpone cheese (4 ounces), butter (1/2 cup), cocoa powder (1/3 cup), milk (2 Tablespoons), and vanilla (2 teaspoons) with an electric mixer on medium – high speed until creamy.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.
  3. Add milk, 1 teaspoons at a time, to reach a spreadable consistency, if needed.