Sunday, February 18, 2024


So here it is Presidents Weekend. Who doesn't remember the story about George Washington cutting down his father's Cherry Tree? He couldn't tell a lie, and for telling the truth --that he did it--his father forgave him. No punishment for cutting down the tree. O.K., we learned this at school..Alas, it's a myth that was perpetuated after Washington's death. Still, for the sake, of this blog, I'm posting a Cherry Pie Recipe. 

Many markets carry fresh cherries from Mexico and countries in South America, so check around. Or, you can always bookmark this recipe to make in the summer.

But, if you can get fresh cherries, I suggest you make Chocolate Cherry Pie this weekend. This recipe is from Allison Arevalo who posted this on Local Lemons several years ago.

This Chocolate Cherry Pie features fabulous cherries, rich dark chocolate, and a butter pie crust. I cannot tell a lie. It is positively sinful. The directions and photos on Local Lemons are outstanding.

I use pre-made pie crusts from Trader Joe's, but check the link if you want to make your own pie crust that includes graham cracker crumbs as well as a good flour.


2 pre-made deep dish pie crusts
2 1/2 pounds fresh cherries (about 2 pounds pitted)
1/2 cup agave nectar
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded chocolate (Mostly dark, with some milk chocolate mixed in, also chopped in food processor)


Pit cherries using cherry-pitter and put in large bowl. Add chopped chocolate, 4 Tbsp flour, and agave nectar. Gently toss until cherries are well coated.
Preheat oven to 400F.
With pre-made pie dough that's been rolled out. Fit into 9 inch pie dish. Carefully pick up and place in dish, cutting off overhang. Fill dough with cherry mixture. Roll out second piecrust and place on top of pie. Pinch sides closed with thumb and forefinger, and use sharp knife to cut three vents into top of crust. Brush with egg wash.
Bake for 25 minutes in middle of oven. Lower heat to 350F and bake for 25 more minutes.  

Saturday, February 17, 2024


Presidents Day: Martha Washington was known for entertaining, and who better than to put forth a recipe for Devil's Food Cake than the First First Lady. Her Devil's Food Cake is a classic chocolate-buttermilk cake that has been handed down through the generations, republished (with variations) by baking chocolate companies, and appearing on thousands of websites. Presidents Day is a celebration of Presidential Birthdays, and this is the perfect Birthday Cake.

This recipe is from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House, Congress and All of the Past Presidents by Linda Bauer (Taylor). The collection of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts, from two centuries worth of politicos, is a benefit for Homes for Our Troops, which helps injured veterans build or adapt their homes for handicapped accessibility.

Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, divided
2 -1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-15-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans.
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup buttermilk, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift together three times.
Cream butter thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add about quarter of the flour mixture, mix thoroughly. Add chocolate mixture and blend. Add remaining flour, alternately with buttermilk, a small amount at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let cool. When completely cooled, trim edges and cut rectangular cake in half crosswise to make a two-layer cake. Fill and frost with icing of your choice.

Friday, February 16, 2024


What's a Mud Cake? I have many recipes for them, and I've made several, but I hadn't really thought about what exactly it is. Mud Cake is relative newcomer to the cake scene, seeming to have popped up somewhere in the 1970s when it was all the rage! The first mud cakes came from Brownies and Fudge, and originally contained marshmallow (or at least a marshmallow topping). Other derivatives of this cake are the Mississippi Mud Pie and Dirt Cake. A mud cake is a very dense, tight crumbed cake. It's made by mixing liquids into dry ingredients. You melt chocolate, butter, and other liquids in a saucepan, then add flour, cocoa, etc. Of course, like anything else, there are always variations. Here's one that adds Rum. There's another below that adds Bourbon.

(from Epicurious)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
5 Tbsp bourbon (preferably 80 proof)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 275°F.
Butter 2 (7-8 inch) springform pans and line bottom of each with a round of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. Wrap bottom and 1 inch up side on outside of each springform pan with foil (to catch drips).
Melt chocolates and butter with coffee in a 4-quart saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.
Beat in bourbon, eggs, and vanilla.
Sift in flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and stir until batter is smooth (batter will be thin).
Divide batter between springform pans (about 3 cups batter in each).
Bake cakes in middle of oven 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a tester inserted in centers comes out with crumbs adhering. Remove from oven and cool in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of each pan, then remove sides. When cool, remove pan bottoms and wax paper.

Sometimes a Mud Cake is made as a sheet cake.. sometimes just a small single cake.  Here's an easy recipe from Real Simple

7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for the pan
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus 
more for the pan
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line 8-inch round cake pan or springform pan with parchment. Butter parchment and dust lightly with flour.
Melt butter and chocolate in microwave in 1-minute increments, on half power, stirring every minute, until shiny and smooth. Stir in salt and 
set aside.
Whisk together egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of sugar until thick and creamy.
Mix egg whites in separate, clean bowl with electric mixer on high until foamy. Gradually add  remaining sugar, tablespoon at time, whipping continuously until whites are thick and glossy and hold soft peak, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold egg yolk mixture into 
chocolate. Add 1/3 of chocolate mixture to egg whites and fold in gently, until marbled. Taking care to keep the batter light and airy, fold in flour in 2 parts, alternating with remaining chocolate, until evenly combined.
Spoon batter into pan and 
bake until crispy on top and  toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cut into 
wedges and serve slightly warm with whipped cream.

Here's a classic Mississippi Mud Cake from Paula Deen

2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cocoa 1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bag miniature marshmallows

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons milk
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Combine sugar, salt, and flour in large mixing bowl.
Bring butter, oil, cocoa, and 1/4 cup water to boil in saucepan. Add to flour mixture.
Beat together eggs, baking soda, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to chocolate mixture, mix well, and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes.
While  cake is baking, make ticing by melting butter in cocoa and milk over low heat. Bring mixture to boil, then remove from heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar. Slowly mix in  nuts and vanilla.
Take cake from oven, and when it cools a bit, cover with miniature marshmallows.
Pour warm icing over cake and  marshmallows.
Cool cake before serving.