Monday, May 21, 2018

STRAWBERRIES & CREAM ICE CREAM PIE: National Strawberry & Cream Day

Today is Strawberries & Cream Day! One way to celebrate would be to stuff strawberries with whipped cream and dip in chocolate. Yum! But here's another way to celebrate the day -- Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust. This would be perfect for your Memorial Day dessert.

Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

1 Chocolate Crust
3 cups Strawberry ice cream or Ben & Jerry's Strawberries & Cream ice cream, softened

Whipped Cream
1 cup Sliced fresh Strawberries

Chocolate Cookie Crust
30 Chocolate wafers
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Pinch of salt

Directions for Cookie Crust
Whirl cookies in food processor until finely ground.
Put crumbs in mixing bowl and add butter and salt until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture across bottom of 8-inch pie plate and up sides. Pack tightly.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.
Cool before filling.

Directions for Pie
Be sure and cool crust before adding ice cream
Spread ice cream evenly over crust.
Smooth top.
Put pie in freezer until solid (or until ready to serve - for up to 3 days)
Before serving, top with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE vs CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Devil's Food Cake Day!

People always ask what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake. It's a good question, and there are many different interpretations. Some recipes use cocoa, some melted chocolate, some add coffee or hot liquid, and some increase the baking soda. And, since it's National Devil's Food Cake Day, here are some answers.

According to Wikipedia:

Because of differing recipes and changing ingredient availability over the course of the twentieth century, it is difficult to precisely qualify what distinguishes Devil's food from the more standard chocolate cake. The traditional Devil's food cake is made with shredded beets much the way a carrot cake is made with carrots. The beets add moisture and sweetness to the cake, helping it to be very rich. The red of the beets slightly colors the cake red and due to the richness of the cake it became known as the Devil's food. 

O.k. That's a beet cake or a 'natural' red velvet cake, and I make a good one, but it's not a Devil's Food Cake in my opinion.  

Devil's food cake is generally more moist and airy than other chocolate cakes, and often uses cocoa as opposed to chocolate for the flavor as well as coffee. The lack of melted chocolate and the addition of coffee is typically what distinguishes a Devil's food cake from a chocolate cake, though some recipes call for all, resulting in an even richer chocolate flavor. The use of hot, or boiling water as the cake's main liquid, rather than milk, is also a common difference. 

Devil's food cake is sometimes distinguished from other chocolate cakes by the use of additional baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which raises the pH level and makes the cake a deeper and darker mahogany color. Devil's food cake incorporates butter (or a substitute), egg whites, flour (while some chocolate cakes are flourless) and less egg than other chocolate cakes. Devil's food cake was introduced in the United States in the early 20th century with the recipe in print as early as 1905. 

A similar cake, the red velvet cake, is closely linked to a Devil's food cake, and in some turn of the century cookbooks the two names may have been interchangeable. Most red velvet cakes today use red food coloring, but even without it, the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa. When used in cakes, acid causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, and before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "Red Velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and a long list of similar names for chocolate cakes.

I'm partial to Devil's Food Cake.

Here are several mid-century recipes. Sorry about the light print on the first cookbook.

I've posted many Devil's Food Cake recipes in the past, but today I have four mid-century recipes.

The first recipe is for Cocoa Devil's Food Cake from How To Get the Most Out of Your Sunbeam Mixmaster (1950). I posted a "Mix-Easy" Devil's Food Cake for Mother's Day a few years ago, and you might want to look at that one, too. It's pretty much the same as the following recipe. The following page in the Sunbeam Mixmaster cookbook pamphlet is great for today's post since there's a Chocolate Cake recipe next to the Devil's Food Cake recipe.

This same cookbook has a recipe for Black Devil's Food Cake, so now we have Cocoa Devil's Food Cake, Black Devil's Food Cake, and a Red Devil's Food Cake. As you see, the following Black Devil's Food cake is made with cocoa and with the addition of strong hot coffee or boiling water.

The Red Devil's Food Cake is a variation on the Chocolate Fudge Cake on the same page, and to save space, they didn't reprint the entire recipe! It's a very small pamphlet. The baking soda is increased, but otherwise it's the same cake. This recipe is from the Recipes for your Hamilton Beach Mixer-17 Delicious New Cakes (1947). Don't you just love that someone wrote good next to the recipe? It's the same recipe I posted (but from a different pamphlet) on Devil's Food Cake Day for Mother's Day. 

And one more Red Devil's Food Cake from the same mid-century period. This one is from Kate Smith Chooses her 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury CAKE RECIPES.

Enough Devil's Food Cake recipes? Never! Have a look at Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House by Linda Bauer. It's a great Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake!

So what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake? You decide.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Unless you're living in the back of beyond, you're aware of the Royal Wedding this weekend of Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle. The wedding couple are departing from tradition and not having a fruitcake for their wedding cake. Good for them. Alas, it's not chocolate either. Nevertheless, I'm all for lemon. They have chosen a lemon elderflower cake. I've seen recipes all over the Internet for this multi-layer cake. One of my friends has made it several times, tweaking it each time so she has it right for her wedding celebration here in the States. When Prince William got married, I posted his groom's cake which was a chocolate biscuit cake, a favorite of his grandmother, the Queen, too. Alas, I have not seen anything posted about Harry's groom's cake.

I'm not one for layer cakes, so after much searching I found great recipes on My Recipes and The Queen of Scones's blog for an Elderflower Lemon Bundt Cake. If you've never visited these sites, you must! I chose the Queen of Scone's adapted recipe. I love it because 1) it's a bundt cake and I love Bundts 2) it's easy! Two of my favorite things. You'll want to go to the original recipe site for photos and tips.

Just an FYI: I used Meyer lemons in this recipe. I have several Meyer Lemon trees in my yard, and I love the distinctive taste!



Bundt Cake
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar (or caster sugar if you have it)
5 large eggs room temperature
2 Tbsp elderflower syrup (or liqueur)
1 Tbsp Lemon zest from 2 lemons
3 cups all purpose flour

Lemon Elderflower Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar (more as needed)
2 Tbsp elderflower syrup
2 - 3 tsp lemon juice  (more if needed)

Elderflower Lemon Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp elderflower syrup  (more as desired)
1 teaspoon clear Vanilla (not vanilla bean)
3 - 4 tsp Lemon zest, freshly zested
1/2 cup powdered sugar  (more if desired)
Dried Elderflowers
1 or 2 lemons, freshly zested
(Add fresh lemon zest and dried Elderflowers just before serving)


Bundt Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare Bundt pan with oil and flour.
Beat butter on medium speed with stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Stir in liqueur and zest. Add flour and Elderflower syrup alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour, beating on low speed just until blended after each addition.
Pour batter into a prepared 10-inch Bundt pan.
Bake for 60 minutes: Tent with non-stick aluminum foil after 45 - 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; invert cake onto rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Lemon Elderflower Glaze
Add glaze ingredients together. Mix icing sugar, syrup, and lemon juice together in bowl until reaching desired consistency. If glaze is too thin, add more icing sugar. If too thick, add  few more drops of lemon juice or Syrup.
Spoon Lemon-Elderflower Glaze over cake.

Now to top it off, you must make Lemon Elderflower Cream!

Lemon Elderflower Cream
Add all ingredients but sugar to very clean, preferably chilled mixing bowl. Whisk with stand mixer {fitted with whisk attachment} or use handheld mixer until Cream starts to hold stiff peaks. Add sugar to taste and continue whisking to achieve desired peaks.

Before serving, sprinkle a bit of lemon zest and dried Elderflowers on top of Elderflower Cream. It's a wedding, after all!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER: National Cherry Cobbler Day

Today is National Cherry Cobbler Day and fresh cherries are just starting to hit the market, so today I'm posting a recipe for a fresh cherry cobbler and a second recipe that uses natural cherry pie filling in case you don't have fresh cherries available in your area. I love Chukar Cherries Sour Cherry Fruit Filling--whole and tangy Montmorency cherries. Red and delicious!

You might be asking what exactly is a Cobbler? Cobblers traditionally have a biscuit topping on the fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small rounds, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road and hence the name Cobbler.  

Happy National Cherry Cobbler Day... and as I always say, everything tastes better with Chocolate!



6 cups tart red cherries, pitted
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Cool. After cooled, sprinkle chopped chocolate.
In bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly.
Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with fork just until combined.
Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling.
Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.



18 ounces Chukar's Sour Cherry Fruit Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp flour
1 cup dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (I use Kerrygold)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix cherries, sugar and flour. Spread evenly in 11 x 7 baking dish.
Sprinkle chocolate over top.

For topping
Mix together flour, sugars and pinch of salt.
Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle topping over cherry filling.
Bake cobbler until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown.
About 40 to 45 minutes.