Tag Archives: cake

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake

I just love food magazines, but what I love even more is having an excuse to buy one. We went to Vegas for my sister-in-law’s wedding and if traveling with two children under the age of four isn’t excuse enough–I have no clue what is. We spent the night in Seattle to make it easier to catch our morning flight; however, when you have a little girl who comes in at 4:45 to see if it’s time to go on the airplane…you know you’re in for a rough morning. There was one point of the boarding process where both girls were crying (rather loudly), while I made it a point to not look at the faces on the other passengers & simply survive. I was waiting for those precious words from the pilot, “we’re now at 10,000 feet, so you can turn on any electronic devices…cell phones, music, LAPTOPS (I think only Ben & I heard it this loud).” That laptop was never pulled out so quickly or a My Little Pony DVD popped it so rapidly. I think we made record time.

The day before I had the girls with me on an errand to Target to get the coveted ‘headphone splitter,’ which was about the best investment for $4.99 one could make with an upcoming airplane ride (& two little kids). I’m definitely not above videos at a time like this, so if you’re that mom who has a special bag full of toys, crayons, paper & other distraction keepers…well, bless you! Once the headphones were on, two girls comfortably (and rather quietly) sitting next to each other watching Ponies–Ben and I gave a nod of approval (wondering if parents were approved to get complimentary liquor). That’s when I pulled out the Fine Cooking Magazine and read each article, because I could. I fell in love with this cake and dreamed of when I could make it. And since I still have pumpkin puree in my freezer from the late Autumn of last year–I knew it was destiny. It should be yours too, and that’s why I’m sharing it, because I care about your destiny when it comes to Autumn desserts and not wanting to look bad when you bring a store-bought pumpkin pie. Your friends & family will rave, as mine did with, “mmmm…..YEAH. that was killer. awesome,” or “It was dangerously delicious!”

A Year Ago: My Roots (Machaca)

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake (printable recipe)

This is adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine. The original recipe calls for adding candied ginger to the nuts (1 1/2 Tb chopped) after the nuts have been thoroughly coated, but I didn’t have any, so I sprinkled in ground ginger instead. This cake probably takes about 2-3 hours to make from start to finish and should be made the day of or cover in a cake dome for up to 2 days. The nuts will not be as crispy the second day. When you are browning butter, it is even more essential that you use your olfactory senses (smell) than your eyes. It will go from a popcorn smell to a nutty (walnut, hazelnut) smell.


For the cake:

6 oz (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, more for pans

9 oz (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, more for pans

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 cups Sucanat sugar

2/3 cup Rapadura sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, (how to roast & puree pumpkin)

For the Topping:

1 1/2 Tb unsalted butter

2/3 cup pecans

1/2 cup unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds

2 Tb Sucanut sugar or light brown sugar firmly packed

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the Frosting:

4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

5 oz (1 1/4 cups) powdered sugar

Make the Cake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the bottom & sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Melt the butter in a 1 quart heavy bottomed pan, stirring occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown (around 4-6 minutes) and when it smells nutty. Pour the butter into a small bowl and allow to cool, but not set for about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, add all of your dry ingredients and whisk them together (flour, spices, salt, & baking soda). In a large bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients, except the butter (note: sugar is almost always considered a “wet” ingredient) and thoroughly mix (Pumpkin puree, eggs, both sugars, buttermilk). With a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients from the medium bowl until just combined. Now, whisk the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter equally between the two pans.

Bake the cakes for 28 minutes (again make use of those olfactory sensors during baking as I baked my cakes for 27 minutes, because the cake smelled done), or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool 10 minutes in the pan. Using a butter knife, run it around the outside of the cake to loosen and then turn it onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the Topping: Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans & pumpkin seeds and cook until the pecans brown slightly and the pumpkin seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar/Sucanat & salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes. Stir in ginger. Remove from heat and cool nuts in pan.

Make the Frosting: Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1 quart pan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally (just like before for the batter) until it turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4-6 minutes. Pour browned butter into a bowl and allow it to sit on the counter for 5 minutes to let the solids settle. Carefully transfer bowl to the freezer and chill until just firm, about 18 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter from the bowl, leaving the browned solids at the bottom; discard the solids. Using an electric mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese & brown sugar on medium-high speed until light & pale and brown sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the powdered sugar until it is nice & fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Assemblage: Get a large cake plate and place one cooled cake top side down. Spread about 1/2 -2/3 cup of frosting on the cake. Take your other cake and place it top side down. Frost the top and sides with remaining frosting. Top the cake with glazed nut/seed topping. Serve immediately. **If you’d like, you could take 1/2 cup of the nut mixture and sprinkle it over the first layer of frosting to sandwich it between the two layers. Then, use the remainder for the top.


Fast Fudge Cake

This morning I woke up to body aching everywhere, but don’t feel too bad on my account, because it’s due to starting a new exercise routine–not the stomach bug.  Ben has been going to this little gym in town for about 4-5 months, along with my friend Jordan (who is the official unofficial recruiting agent) who encouraged him to join.  As I’ve been dealing with anxiety, irritable stomach issues and most likely burnout–I felt like it was as good of a time as any to join the gym.  But why so sore you ask?  Well, this little gym packs quite the punch.  It’s not your typical gym of doing the routinized circuit or swiping your card and heading towards the elliptical machine.  It’s an all over cardio workout that relies heavily on weight-bearing activities.

Before you join you attend what they call Basecamp.  It is either broken into two days or one day of 2 1/2 hours, where one of the gym’s coaches teaches you all the exercises/workouts, ensuring you learn technique.  The first thing I did was jumping rope.  And I thought, “jumping rope–seriously, that’s a snap.”  100 jumped ropes.  What I failed to realize is that I haven’t jumped rope since I was about 10.  I hit about 65 and went mental.  Then, from 65 to 80, I believe I did a culmination of either hitting my own head with the rope, getting tangled in my foot, etc.  Suffice to say, I was humbled.  The coach said, “you’re thinking about it too much.”  True!  Well, that was just the beginning and we went on to doing multiple variations of squats, lifts, push-ups, pull-ups, & weight-bearing.  So every single ounce of my body got worked.

My legs felt like jelly and mind you we have two flights of stairs, so walking down them feels like I’m an 85-year-old woman.  It’s good though.  I know it’s going to be hard, but I tell myself a couple of things to prepare myself.

1. It’s a break from being mom.

2. This too shall pass.

3. I went through labor twice without meds, so no workout could be harder than that.

4. I want something better for my life in terms of mental, emotional & physical stamina, which I want my girls to have, so I know taking time for myself in this area is critical.

I haven’t been baking lately.  In part, it’s due to not having much of a sweet tooth; but, mainly I haven’t had much time or creativity lurking.  This is something I made a while back, but I still remember the moistness of the cake.  It’s a easy to make and honestly, if you’re pressed for time–you could add the wet ingredients in one bowl and then add the dry ingredients in with it (making it a one-bowl cake).  I hope you are finding and making time for yourself.

Fast Fudge Cake (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.  I had a little ganache already made up in my fridge, so my cake had a thin glaze a top.  Regardless, it turned out wonderfully and if you want to serve with just whipped cream, powdered sugar and fresh berries–it would suit it well.

4 1/2 oz (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tb) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 lb (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate or semisweet, chopped up
1 cup heavy cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Grease & flour or grease & line with parchment either an 8×2- or 9×2-inch round cake pan.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & salt.  Sift only if the cocoa continues having lumps after whisking.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add the eggs & vanilla, stirring till combined well.  Add the dry ingredients, just till moistened.  Pour the hot water over the batter and stir just until it’s completely incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  For an 8×2-inch pan, bake 35 to 40 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  For a 9×2-inch pan, bake for about 30 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife along the edge and invert the pan onto a plate.  Invert it again back onto the rack to cool completely.

Making the Ganache: Chop up your chocolate into bite sized pieces and put into a heat proof bowl and set aside.  Heat up the cream over medium heat.  Once it starts to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate in the bowl.  Allow the cream & chocolate to sit for about 45 seconds.  Whisk the chocolate & cream together until the cream is completely incorporated and the ganache is smooth & a just slightly thick.

Putting the Cake together: Once the cake is cool, put foil under the wire rack to catch any drippings from the ganache.  Pour the ganache over the cake allowing it to go down the sides.  You can also allow the cake cool completely cool in the pan and make half of the ganache and pour it on top while in the pan.  Let the cake with ganache set for about an hour.

Rustic Rhubarb Cake

Although I promise to give you a recipe, allow me to ramble a bit.  About the weather, glories, & redeeming the times (and later some rhubarb cake).  I’ve been loving this weather we’ve been given in Bellingham of late.  It makes being a mama so worth it, along with the dreary months in winter.  The sun in full swing, slight breeze, dirt-painted toes in sandals, happy little girls in search of flowers or climbing towers too high for their hands to reach–blissful.  The backdoor is open, while the girls run in and out.

It’s days like this that I’m reminded of how glorious creation is & my homebody nature sheds off.  I become more aware of the little things, birds singing, breeze wisps my hair, the hues of golden & red in my youngest hair.  It’s lovely! It reminds me of how grand the universe is and how little I am. This is a verse from the song, ‘Lovely,’ by the band Waterdeep:

Lord when you sing your song

all of creation will know

Lord when you show your strength

let justice and righteousness flow

when we see your holiness

every tongue confess–You are lovely

God continues to bring me back to him, while he tells me I’m valued, treasured, & I can feel free to cry or laugh in his presence.  I hear the birds singing praise.  The trees lifting their hands to worship. And feel the breeze dance over me, enrapturing all of me–hushing the fear & empowering the dreams–his Spirit.  Today I’m melancholy with joy.  Maybe it’s hormones.  Although I’m breathing in the beauty of the day, I’m exhaling like an asthma sufferer.  My heart is thinking of the marriages dying in this world, the mother who cannot feed her children, the very real fear of war standing outside the door.  And then, I glanced and saw this verse popping out:

He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.  he feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.  he will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.–Psalm 72:12-14

No matter how much I can get sucked into the pit of despair (for myself or others), I have to remind myself of this verse.  It’s when life can’t seem to get any worse–it does, but I remember telling Ben in the midst of one of those moments, “I have to remain hopeful, because Jesus still sits on the throne & he’s capable of redeeming the least hopeful of situations or people.”  So maybe you’re having a melancholy day, or a simply wonderful, singing on mountaintops sort of day.  You could easily make this cake.  It’s one of those “one-bowl” wonders sort of cakes.  Plus, you could pass it as breakfast too.

Rustic Rhubarb Cake (printable recipe)

This recipe was given to me many years ago, but I am greatly indebted to the source.  I turn on the oven, spray my pan, & throw everything in the bowl to mix & pour into the pan.  I’ve changed some things up a bit.  I used Rapadura sugar, but you could use granulated sugar.  Instead of hazelnuts, change it out with what you have.  And instead of using whole wheat pastry flour, use all-purpose.


2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup Rapadura sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp kosher salt

For Topping:

1/2 – 3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9×13 pan.  In a medium bowl, combine cream, eggs & sugar and mix to combine.  Add flour, baking soda, salt & rhubarb to the bowl and stir until combined.  Pour into prepared pan.

Sprinkle with brown sugar and then the hazelnuts.  Bake for 28-30 minutes.  If you’re using Rapadura sugar, then you’ll really start to smell it at which point use a toothpick to check to see if it’s done.  If a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean–take it out.

Serve it warm, room temperature, dollop of whipped cream, yogurt, for brunch, ice cream–whatever you fancy.

Almond Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Ben and I got to get away this weekend for the first time since before Tayers was born (August 2008 last nights away).  It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.  If you’re a mother, can I just say that you need time away.  Your kids will be fine.  In fact, they’ll be the better for it.  Heck, you both will be the better for it.  And most likely, your husband has been wanting to get away with just you for quite some time.  If you’re a single mom, then enlist someone’s help to give yourself extra alone time, because I commend your hard work & efforts doing this job alone.  All in all–get away, don’t think twice, just do it.  It will give you more to give back.

It was also over a year ago, with me 7 months pregnant, baking every single dessert for my dear friends (Tina & Jason) wedding.  I had the privilege of making Jason his favorite dessert (Carrot Cake) and he would echo my praises when I say, “it is pretty much the best carrot cake EVER!”  Then, for Tina as the gluten-intolerant gal that she is, I made chocolate truffle cakes with homemade raspberry puree.  Her all-time combo is chocolate & raspberry.  Well, after the day was over, I told Ben to remind me to NEVER do that while I was that pregnant again–no matter who is asking.  But, lucky for me, I was blessed with a gift certificate to a local spa in town from my dessert making at 7 months effort.  So on Saturday I finally used it (only about 17 months later) for my 90 minute Swedish massage.  Heavenly!

Tayers chillin' with her papa (she has the charm factor going strong)

It even got me reflecting about my last massage (I was pregnant) and how maybe I’m ready for another baby.  Well, let’s stop right there, because A. this will not be the place I will first be discussing such BIG ideas and B. I think the masseuse hit some pressure points leading to romantic, idealism babyland.  Mental note: Kamille, enjoy your first over night away with your husband without thinking about adding more insanity quite yet.

We did enjoy our time together.  Our room overlooked the water, we went on walks, ate some classical French food (some I will most likely not eat again), & had adult conversation without interruptions.  We also had this Portugese Almond Cake with Apricot Compote.  I enjoyed it, as I enjoy most anything with almonds.  It reminded me of this Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake I made a while back, but haven’t shared it with you yet.  And this seems as good as any.

Brown Sugar! and Almond Pound Cake (printable recipe)

This cake is adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.  I made this pound cake, then whipped up some heavy cream for whipped cream and used my orange cardamom caramel to make an Almond Orange Cardamom Caramel Trifle.  Down right dangerous, but I play high stakes.  Also, go to Trader Joe’s to purchase Almond Meal for a cheaper price.  I sifted my almond meal to separate the ground skin from the almond meat.


  • 2 cups bleached all-purpose flour, sifted then measured
  • 1 ¼ cups ground almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 F.  Spray two 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, set on medium speed, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy (3 minutes).  Gradually beat in the brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold the flour and almond mixture into the batter by hand, using a rubber spatula or large balloon whisk, until no traces of flour remain.

Spoon the batter evenly among the two loaf pans.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack.  Let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding onto the rack.  Let cool completely on wire rack.  The cake can be eaten, wrapped well in plastic & stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

sorry about the horrible picture, but the sun had gone down

Grapefruit Yogurt Loaf Cake

My freshman year of college I lived with my brother in a ghetto house, which happened to be in a sketchy neighborhood. It was also the year I was carjacked (whole other story) a block from where we lived. Although the house was small and a bit run down, it had about 12 redeeming qualities, which came in the form of lemon, orange & grapefruit trees. I would go out and pick lemons, slice them up and dip them in sugar. If I was feeling saucy, then I would sprinkle salt on them instead. Let’s just say I was in no danger of getting scurvy that year.

There were at least four grapefruit trees, producing big O.T.L. (Over The Line is a game in AZ, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else and the ball is about double the size of a softball) ball size grapefruit. Unfortunately, I never cared for grapefruit much. I wasn’t going to be cutting it in half and sprinkling it with sugar for a perfect morning breakfast like some. I ended up giving most of them away. It’s only now, about 12 years later, that I have really come to appreciate grapefruit juice with seltzer.

So, as I had this lonely grapefruit on my counter from our bi-weekly produce delivery, I wondered how I could make it into a dessert. After looking at Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook, I came across the Lemon Yogurt Cake recipe I had made a while back. And this is what I came up with to share with my friends and Ben’s co-workers. It isn’t overly strong like a lemon cake would be, but it’s nice & subtle. And it seemed to suit this Spring in January we’ve been experiencing this week.

Grapefruit Yogurt Loaf Cake (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook.  It is a lemon yogurt cake using all whole-milk yogurt and more sugar in the cake part, while using less simple syrup for the cake.  However, since grapefruit flavor is not as strong as lemon flavor, I found using 2/3 cup of grapefruit juice & 2/3 cup sugar was more adequate to give it that grapefruit flavor.  Notes are in italics within the directions


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plain whole fat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated grapefruit zest (1 grapefruit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan (I used a stoneware loaf pan and didn’t grease & flour after using the parchment and it worked fine)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together both yogurts, 2/3 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 2/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. (You will most likely need to do this in batches allowing the cake to absorb the syrup.  I poured the syrup on the top and turned it to its side to pour syrup on the sides, in order to really get the juice flavor into the cake.) Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice (I only used one grapefruit, which measured barely above 2/3 cup of juice.  I used some of the juice syrup to the confectioner’s sugar to make the glaze thin enough) and pour over the cake.

Intensely Chocolate Cake

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture soon enough.  This small sliver was the last piece standing after my daughter demolished it…story in the footnote:)

One thing I love about Ben is his grateful attitude.  He is truly one of the easiest people to please, especially when it comes to food.  After cooking a couple nice meals in a row one week, he said, “Kamille, I appreciate all your effort in making dinner, but you know you don’t have to go out of your way.  I’d be just as happy with sandwiches.”  What a guy right!

Well, if it’s your birthday, you need something extra special right!  I was envisioning making something along the lines of a braised beef dish.  One, because we don’t eat much meat these days and two, because Ben’s ultimate meal would be steak.  However, it didn’t happen.  Instead I made some Lentil Stew (which turned out really great & I’ll post it later), but I did make up for it in the cake department.  And honestly, baking is more my thing.

If I were to say another thing I love about Ben, it would have to be his appreciation for simple routine.  Simple, because he’s a meat & potatoes, T-shirt & jeans wearing, sports lovin’ type of guy.  Routine, because he once went a solid three months eating the same exact lunch for work (he did say he got sick of it, but his defense was…”it was easy!”).  So, when you combine that with my favorite question I ask people, “What’s your top desserts of all time?,”  you get a wife who makes chocolate cake with ice cream for birthday dessert.  I would love to make something more complex and even feel like I’m cheating him a bit; but, really, I’m not.  And ya know, I wouldn’t change it.  Even if it means I’ll be making chocolate cake for the next 50+ years…cause he’s worth it.

Intensely Chocolate Cake with Light Chocolate Buttercream (printable recipe)

When I use the word “light,” I don’t mean in calories, but in density.  The frosting is adapted from The Essence of Chocolate, while the cake is taken directly. It should be noted that I made one mistake in making the cake; hence, the denseness of the picture above…I added the eggs & mixed to realize I forgot to add the sugar first.  Regardless, it tasted wonderful, just not as airy.


1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup heavy cream

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 additional sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, not completely room temperature, cut into 1/2-in pieces


Unsalted butter and flour for the pans

2 cups granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup whole milk

1 cup boiling water

For the frosting: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar & cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes.  Add both chocolates & 4 ounces of butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Stir until melted  Pour into bowl of a mixer and add vanilla.  Mix on medium-high speed until bowl is room temperature.  Add pieces of the additional butter.  Beat until light & fluffy, approximately 4-5 minutes.

For the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350.  Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans.  Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed.  Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water.  The batter will be soupy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely. Invert the cake with top side down onto a serving platter.  Remove the parchment & place about two cups of frosting on top.  Spread it out, starting from the center.  You don’t need to make it even, since the second layer will help smoosh the frosting evenly.  Put the rest of the frosting on top.  Once again starting from the center and working outwards.  Then, spreading it over and onto the sides.

Let the frosting firm up a bit and eat!

**Post-story: My oldest daughter got into some monkey business while I went upstairs to change my youngest.  Upon my return, she was at the table looking like this…

Needless to say, it was more than enjoyed in our house.

Rootbeer Cake & Comfort


I have been thinking lately about Sabbath. Some of this is due to being asked to give a talk to a group of college students about the Sabbath. I’ve been reading, listening & meditating upon what Scripture and various authors/speaker have said about the topic.

There’s a lot to be said about this exhaustive topic, but I think the best way of understanding so far has been to do. I have to insert that I have practiced a Sabbath for a while, but I don’t think it’s been very intentional or thoughtful. Yesterday was one of the firsts. We as a family started our day of rest on Saturday night. On Sunday morning I sang on the worship team, which was wonderful to be able to walk into practice (then the services) feeling a sense of security and rest in my Lord like never before.

It was also great to come home to a house full of toys strewn around the floor, dirty dishes whispering, “clean me,” and a cell phone & computer left cold, because I was invited to rest in the midst of disarray. I was invited to lay aside my worries of what would come the next day, because all I had to think about was knowing my Lord, my Papa God would carry me through to Monday. I was resting in the rhythms of His unfettering grace & mercy, as we lay on the park grass watching our oldest find courage & strength in her ability to climb a once unknown rock wall. All I had to do was lavish in the invitation to rest.

In the busyness of our lives and our culture, we’re taught to only slow down when we take a vacation, or when we get sick. But why wait for a vacation that only comes a couple times a year to rest? Why wait for a sweeping of the stomach flu to rest? Yesterday was like my vacation a couple weeks back, where a sense of abandonment flew over the lake and up into the air. The sun caught hold of it as it poured down upon my body to invigorate me; while, the lake sucked it up and restored me as I swam through it. In the evening, it came through us feasting on good food and laughing. Sabbath, it’s a slice of Earth redeemed.


Rootbeer Cake (printable recipe)

This recipe is from Baked cookbook and I baked mine in two small pans.  Since we were at Ben’s grandparents cabin, I used what was available.  One gelatin pan and one small angel cake pan, but it worked out quite well.  Plus, they were deliciously moist.

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 2 cups root beer (not diet)
  • 1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs

For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting:

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao), melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup root beer
  • 2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

To Serve: Vanilla ice cream

Make the Root Beer Bundt Cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; alternatively, butter it, dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.

In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy–do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to be tough. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.


Make the Root Beer Fudge Frosting: Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts utnil the frosting is shiny and smooth. Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the crown of the bundt in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving, with the ice cream on the side.