Chocolate Raspberry Cake

February 27, 2011

*a cake I made for my friend on her birthday using this recipe: decadent chocolate cake but using raspberry jam as a filling and raspberries as garnish*


Somewhere along the lines we stop chasing after fancy things and realize that we get the most satisfaction and comfort out of the simple pleasures of life: spending time with family, reading a good book and… eating cupcakes.

It’s safe to say that during this time of the year everyone is a bit pumpkin crazy. I went to the store the other day to pick up canned pumpkin for these cupcakes and saw a sign that said “limit 4 cans per day.” Not only that but every coffee shop you turn to you find pumpkin lattes and cappuccinos and pastries. I laughed at first but then realized that I am proudly partaking in this craziness as well because quite frankly pumpkin is darn good.

I found the recipe for these cupcakes from one of my favorite blogs, Annie’s Eats. This cupcake is the ultimate pumpkin goodness, it has the perfect blend of spices that compliment the pumpkin flavor rather than overpowering it. And the cream cheese frosting is so very rich and creamy. It’s honestly one of the best frostings I have ever made. Overall it’s a great cupcake recipe to come back to again and again. Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 24-30 cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe (From Annie’s Eats)

  • 2 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (I just used allspice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° and line your cupcake tray with paper liners.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a bowl.

In another medium sized bowl mix together the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and oil with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each one.  With the mixer on low add the sifted flour mixture until combined.

Fill the batter about three-quarters full in the cupcake liners.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes (until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).  Cool completely before you frost (about 10 minutes).

To make the frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 5 tbsp butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar

First beat together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth this should take a few minutes. Then slowly add in the confectioners sugar until all of it is combined. Beat until the frosting is nice and smooth.

Decorate them however you’d like; I used chocolate sprinkles, walnuts, and crushed heath bar.


One thing that will never be out of season is chocolate. All 4 seasons, all 12 months, and all 365 days a year, no one is going to turn down a good chocolate recipe.

On my vacation to India earlier this year I had a series of chocolate cake experiences. It was mostly because I get spoiled… a lot.

These chocolate cake experiences really made me want to make a chocolate cake myself. If you don’t like grocery store cakes and you don’t like paying the high price of fancy bakeries then to bake one yourself is an amazing alternative. It’s relatively inexpensive and it tastes so much better.

In my search for the perfect chocolate cake recipe I remembered Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe that I had put aside a while back. When I saw this recipe I instantly knew I would be making it because of the chocolate and coffee combination. I made it a while ago and never got a chance to put it up so I wanted to share it with all of you so you could benefit from this chocolate-coffee magic as well.

I love chocolate and coffee; putting these two flavors together in a cake seemed like a no brainer and I wish I had thought of it first. The coffee in this cake really brings out the chocolate flavor and makes it very rich and decadent. In fact, I would just eat this cake without the chocolate buttercream frosting… because it’s just that good.

I don’t make cakes that often, I’m used to making cookies or brownies and for a while I thought that in order to make a cake you had to use cake flour. But, as it turns out that is not true. This was my first try at making a chocolate cake and it turned out really really good. Maybe it was just luck or maybe my experience of eating chocolate cakes helped. In other words, I should eat cake more often… clearly.

If you like the combination of chocolate and coffee and you’re looking for a moist and delicious cake recipe then this is for you.

Chocolate Cake Recipe (By Ina Garten)

  • Butter to grease cake pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (extra to coat the pans)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk ( I used half and half)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350°

Grease two round 8 inch cake pans with butter and flour.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix this together with an electric mixer until everything is incorporated. In a separate bowl mix together the half and half, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With your mixer on low, slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once that is nicely combined slowly add in the coffee and mix.

Pour the batter into your cake pans and bake it for 30-45 minutes just until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Cool them for about 30 minutes before you take them out of the pans.

Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate ( I used Guittard chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 a pound of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (if its too strong reduce to 1 teaspoon otherwise it will overpower your cake)

Melt the chocolate by putting it in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Mix it until it melts then set it aside so it comes down to room temperature.

With an electric mixer beat the butter (up) until its light and fluffy. Add the yolk and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Put the mixer on low and slowly add the confectioners sugar. Once it is all added put the mixer on medium and beat until smooth and creamy.

Mix your instant coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of hot tap water. Finally, on a low speed add the melted chocolate and coffee to the frosting until its well blended. It’s easiest to spread it right away onto the cooled cake.

Also you may have noticed from the picture but I garnished the top with some chopped walnuts just for the heck of it. It added a nice crunch!


Orange Bread

August 26, 2010

Last weekend, I helped cook an iftaar (breaking the fast) dinner for 200 people along with four other ladies. I had never been apart of such large quantity cooking before so it was really interesting to see the process of familiar recipes and how they change. Instead of a tablespoon of something you put it by the cups and instead of putting cups of something you put it by the pounds. Anyway it was a lot of fun, the food turned out amazing, and after everything was all done and over we had left over food…of course. One of those left over items were oranges so now we have a bunch of oranges sitting at home and I wanted to make something out of it and ran across this orange bread recipe from Simply Recipes. I make their banana bread all the time and absolutely love it, so orange bread sounded like something good to try. The best part is that it’s really light…with only 1/3 cup of butter and 1 cup of yogurt to make it nice and moist.

Orange Bread Recipe (by Simply Recipes)

  • 1/3 cup of butter (about 5 1/3 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped

Optional Glaze

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1/3 cup of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°

Butter a loaf pan (I used a 5×9 inch.)  To make it easier to remove the loaf lay down a wide strip of parchment paper on the bottom and up the sides. Butter that as well.

With an electric mixer beat the butter until it becomes fluffy, add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until mixed. Finally beat in the orange zest.

In another bowl whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

To the butter mixture beat in the yogurt and dry ingredients taking turns, starting with the yogurt. Beat just until its incorporated. Mix in the raisins and pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake on the middle rack for about 45-50 minutes (mine took 50 minutes) until you put in a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for a couple minutes and then remove and cool for another 15 minutes. This makes it easier to slice.

Prepare the glaze by whisking together the lemon juice, orange juice, and sugar. I tried to make the glaze but it was much too sweet for my taste so I didn’t use it. Plus the bread is really good on its own :)