Jill’s Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake

I just added a recipe for chocolate cake. I am not a baker at all but this cake comes out perfect every time! It’s a recipe from the US that has been circulating between friends in Venice for years. I have no idea where it originally came from and don’t take credit for it, but if you are looking for an easy and delicious cake, this is a good recipe to try.

1 3/4 c. unsifted all-purpose flour

1 3/4 c. white sugar

3/4 to 1 c. dark cocoa

1 1/2 tsps. baking soda

1 1/2 tsps. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 c. milk (2% or whole)

2 tsps. vanilla

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1 c. boiling water

(These last 2 ingredients are the secret to its moistness and denseness — they make it virtually impossible to overbake it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed (or you can mix it well by hand too).  Stir in the boiling water (the batter will thin significantly).

Pour into a greased and floured 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into middle comes out clean.  Cool

Anita’s Chocolate Cake

5 eggs yolks 3 tbsp sugar
250 gr butter
200gr bitter chocolate 100gr milk chocolate

100gr flour 4 cl Grand Marnier.
5 egg whites beaten stiff

Put the butter and chocolate in a bowl and place in hot water ( Bain Marie ) to melt.
Mix the egg yolks and sugar till thick and creamy add the flour with the Grand Marnier and mix well.
When the butter and chocolate is completely melted add the other mixture of eggs etc, and last fold in the egg whites.
Pour into a 26 cm spring form and bake at 220° c for 10 minutes.
should be soft in the middle……..

Spiced Chocolate Caramel Cake with Baked Pears from Chasing Delicious



2 or 4, 6″ round cake pans
Parchment paper
Large Bowls
Fine mesh sieve

Piping bag (optional)
Large round piping tip (optional)
Icing spatula (optional)

Torch (optional)


8 ounces flour
1 pound sugar
3 ounces cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed coffee, hot

4 pears
4 ounces pecans

1 cup fortified caramel (recipe below)

2 cups spiced buttercream frosting (recipe below)


1.Preheat an oven to 350°F. Prepare the cake pans by buttering the bottom and sides, lining the bottom with parchment paper and buttering the paper. Set aside.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt). Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the eggs for about a minute until broken a part.

4. Add the cream, sour cream and melted butter to the eggs. Mix until blended well.

5. Pour the egg, cream and butter mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix until the mixture is completely blended and homogeneous.

6. Add the vanilla. Then add the hot coffee to the batter in small additions, mixing well after each addition. Mix in until the batter homogenous.

7. If you are using four pans, evenly distribute the batter into the prepared cake pans. If you are using two, evenly distribute half of the batter between the two pans – you will need to repeat step 6 and 7 with the remaining half of the batter. The batter left to rest may not rise as much as the batter baked aright away.

8. Place the cake pans on a baking sheet. Add the pears to the baking sheet. Bake everything in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just barely clean (a few straggling crumbs is ok). The pears should be soft to the touch – they may need to bake longer than the cake.

9. While the cakes are baking, prepare the fortified caramel and the buttercream frosting according to the instructions. Set both aside.

8. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting them.

10. Place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Using a piping bag with a large circle tip pipe large circles of frosting around the top of the cake – so when you press the second layer on top it will give a daisy appearance. You may also use an icing spatula to spread the frosting on top. Place the second layer on top.

11. Decorate each cake.

Below are decorating instructions: 

For a caramel drizzled top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Sprinkle pecans around the pear. Spoon the caramel over the pear and pecans, letting it pool and drizzle down the sides of the cake.

For a pear spiral top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Cut another baked pear into 1/4″ wedges. Arrange the wedges in a fanned spiral around the whole pear. Sprinkle pecans on top.

For a caramelized pear accent – Cut a baked or unbaked pear in half. Sprinkle sugar on top of the cut portion. Using a torch, or the broiler of your oven, caramelize the sugar like you would on a creme brulee. Let the sugar harden for about 30 seconds before working with the pear. This should only be done right before serving as the juices in the pear will cause the caramelized sugar to  liquify after about 30 minutes.

r  Store in an airtight container at room temperature. This cake should last 3 to 4 days though it is best served the same day.
n Avoid adjusting the ingredients in this recipe.


Buttercream Frosting: This frosting is the typical, easy-breezy buttercream variety. You throw everything in a bowl and beat until it is creamy. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Here a little cinnamon and cardamom is added to give the frosting a bite.

Spiced Buttercream Frosting

2 cups frosting


Stand mixer with a paddle attachment


4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 tbls cream


1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl. Beat until everything is combined and the frosting is light and frothy.

r  Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The frosting should last 3 to 4 days.

Fortified Caramel: Any caramel that has cream and butter added is called a fortified caramel. It is probably my favorite kitchen concoction as the creaminess and butteriness paired with the delightfully carmalized sugar is a match made in heaven.

Making fortified caramel is exactly like making classic caramel, but with fortified caramel you add cream and butter (and possible other flavorings) at the end. Be sure to stand at the stove and watch the boiling sugar closely.  As soon as it reaches a golden amber – or caramel – color, remove it from the heat. Sugar can go from caramel to burnt blackjack in a matter of a minute and once caramel is over cooked it is ruined  – you will have to start from scratch if that happens.


Fortified Caramel


Heavy-bottomed pot
Candy thermometer
Wooden spoon


1 pound sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Add the sugar, water, lemon juice and corn syrup into the heavy-bottom pot and place over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is homogeneous.

2. Watching the thermometer and color carefully, boil the mixture until it becomes a golden amber color, or reaches about 325°F. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes. Do not stir during this time.

3. Once the caramel has reached the appropriate color (careful not to let it continue cooking too long) remove from the heat. Carefully pour the cream into the pot while stirring vigorously. STAND BACK as you do this as the caramel and cream could pop and explode upwards.

4. If the mixture is lumpy, place the caramel back over the heat, stirring constantly until the lumps have dissolved.

5. Off of the heat add the butter and cinnamon. Stir until the butter is completely dissolved.

6. Let the caramel cool.

r Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The caramel should last up to a week.
n Avoid adjusting the ingredients in this recipe.
t Pay attention to the temperature while making the caramel.

Warm Apple Cider Cake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle from Vicki Wells


  1. 4 cups apple cider, preferably fresh
  2. 1/3 cup bourbon
  3. 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  4. 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  5. 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  8. 1 cup heavy cream


  1. 1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider
  6. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  7. 1/4 cup bourbon
  8. 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  9. 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  10. 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  11. 2 large eggs
  1. Vanilla Ice Cream, for serving
  1. In a saucepan, combine the cider, bourbon, brown sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and seeds; bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cream. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher; let cool slightly. Discard the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper; butter and flour the paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a glass measuring cup, mix the apple cider with the canola oil and bourbon. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla seeds and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the cider-bourbon mixture, until smooth.
  3. Spread two-thirds of the batter in the prepared cake pan. Drizzle half of the cider sauce over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top, then spread the batter over the cider sauce, being careful not to mix them together. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until springy when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the parchment paper.
  4. Rewarm the remaining cider sauce. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream, Pumpkin Seed Brittle and the cider sauce.

MAKE AHEAD The cake and cider sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. NOTES Cooking Club Tip: Choose vanilla beans that are plump, moist and fragrant, not dried out and brittle. Beans from Madagascar (thought by many to be the best) and Mexico have a rich vanilla taste. To scrape out the seeds, open up the bean and run the blunt edge of the knife from one end to the other. The contents of one whole bean is equal to one tablespoon pure vanilla extract. To store vanilla beans, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. SERVE WITH PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE



  1. 1/3 cup sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  3. 2 tablespoons water
  4. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  5. 1/8 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and butter the paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until a deep amber caramel forms, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and the dissolved baking soda and stir until combined, then quickly pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it into a thin layer with a spatula. Let cool until hardened. Break into shards and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The brittle can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week

Judith’s Orange Cake with Orange Buttercream icing

Preheat oven to 175 C
Prepare two +- 20 to 23 cm layer cake pans by buttering the interiors and lining the bottom with baking paper. I had batter left over with 20 cm pans.
Cooking Time:25-35 minutes\ Servings: 16
Preparation Time: 15 (hahaha)

1 C./225 g butter
2 C./420 g Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 3/4 C./358 g Flour
3 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
1 3/4 Cup/ 415 ml Milk and orange juice 50:50
Cream butter together with sugar. Beat in eggs, orange rind and vanilla.
In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk/juice mixture. Pour into greased & papered pan.
Tap pans on table to release any air bubbles before placing in oven.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center and a toothpick emerges clean. Time depends on your oven.
Grease two cooling racks (very necessary) and after 10 minutes, loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto the rack. Cool completely.

Orange buttercream Icing
¾ c/169 g butter, softened
500 g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ cup/59 ml orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the butter until creamy and gradually beat in the sugar, then the salt. Beat in the orange juice and then beat hard until it is creamy, smooth and fluffy. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Ice the cake patiently, scooping on a glop at a timer, then spreading with a wet table knife. Stop and re-wet every time the icing starts to lift. You may want to cut a few very thin slices of orange and cure them in sugar for a few hours, but if you know a few days in advance, it would be even nicer to candy some orange peel for decoration. Just make it and dry it, then cut into threadlike strands for décor.
This is a cake so moist you could call it wet, so the surface is very tender. Handle only when cold and leave the paper on the bottom until assembling it. When icing it, really do spread only with a wet knife.
If your kitchen is cold you may have to do as I do and put the bowl in which you are working the butter into a bowl holding warm tap water until the butter starts to soften. Remove it quickly so it doesn’t melt, however.

Sarah’s Parkin Recipe


  • 110g soft butter
  • 110g soft dark brown sugar
  • 155g black treacle
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 225g medium oatmeal or blitzed up porridge oats
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger plus 50g chopped chrystalized ginger
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 100 ml milk
  • Pinch of salt
    1. Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/Gas Mark 1. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm square cake tin.
    2. In a pan, over a gentle heat, melt the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup. Don’t allow the mixture to get too hot or bubble. When they have melted together remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
    3. In a large mixing bowl sift in the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Gradually add the melted butter mixture and fold together. Pour in the beaten eggs and milk and combine together. Mixture will be quite runny but don’t worry.
    4. Pour into your baking tin. Bake for 1 hour, however keep an eye on it as parkin can easily become dry and over baked.
    5. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 20 minutes. Tip onto a cake rack and leave to cool completely.
    6. Store the parkin in a cake tin and wrapped in greaseproof paper. You must keep it in a tin for a minimum of 1 day and up to a week before you cut it. Leaving it to develop will give it a moist and sticky texture, as well as making the flavour richer and deeper.

      Adapted from a BBC Food recipe.


Kim’s Fall Muffins: Cranberry, Apple, Pumpkin, & Walnut

I just love fall an I love muffins so I decided to incorporate a few of my favorite fall foods apples, cranberry, walnuts  and pumpkins.  I am going to make Cranberry, Apple,  Pumpkin, Walnut Muffins with a Carmel Icing (dulce le leche).  The icing might be a bit overboard but it is optional.

For starters you will have to make up the apple sauce from scratch and the pumpkin cooked and squeezed.  When you have these made I took 2 cups apple sauce and 2 cups pumpkin and added 1 cup of dried cranberries to soften.

5 cups Flour 0 or all purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat germ (Germe di Grano, I found at Natura Si here)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Baking soda (Bicarbonato di sodio)
1 whole package of Lievito per i dolci or 2 1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 tbsp of pumpkin spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) *this is if you like a lot of spices (cannella, chiodi di garofano, noce moscata)
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 325 F and line your muffin tin with wrappers or grease them

Mix in a medium bowel the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, wheat germ, spices) set aside.  Now mix up the liquid ingredients apple/pumpkin/cranberry with sugar, eggs, vanilla.  Beat until well combined.  Then add the flour mixture beat until combined.  Mix in the walnuts.  Pour into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.

They are good without, but when they are cool you can add the dulce le leche or dulce le leche mixed with some cream cheese (no added sugar).

Chocolate Orange Brownies by Cheryl O’Bryan

Chocolate Orange Brownies by Cheryl O’Bryan

Ok, so I don’t have time to bake what I planned for the competition but here’s a recipe I posted back in July last year that I will enter for the competition. So easy and so tasty!

Chocolate Orange Brownies
Delicious, quick and very easy!
Makes 16

3 eggs
100ml vegetable oil
2 Oranges
200g sugar
100g wholemeal flour
10g baking powder
60g oatmeal
60g Cocoa powder

Beat the eggs with the oil. Add rind and juice of both oranges. Mix in sugar, flour, oatmeal, cocoa and baking powder. Stir to combine. (Add nuts or choc chips if desired at this point.) Place mixture into a greased tin about 6x9inches and bake in oven at 160 C for about 20 minutes or until top is baked and crispy but middle is still a little squidgy. (It will continue to cook as it cools.) When cool sprinkle with caster sugar or dust with icing sugar/cocoa. YUMMY!!

Tacle Mandarin Olive Oil Cake with Candied Tacle Mandarins by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Tacle Mandarin Olive Oil Cake with Candied Tacle Mandarins by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

Tacle Mandarins (you’ll need 4 for the cake and a dozen or more for the candied mandarins)
1 cup sugar
Plain Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups Manitoba flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil preferably a mild one from Liguria

Preheat oven to 160C/350F
In a large bowl, zest 3 of the mandarins. Combine with the sugar rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingers until completely distributed.

Supreme 3 mandarins by cutting off the top and bottom, then cutting away the skin and the white pith around the fruit. Then inserting the knife between the skin of each section and the flesh, cut the flesh away from the skins dropping the flesh into a bowl. break up the pieces of fruit. Set aside.

Halve the remaining Mandarin and juice so that you have about 1/4 cup of juice. Add yogurt to the juice until you have 2/3 cup of liquid. Add to the sugar mixture and whisk well. Add the eggs, and once again whisk well to combine.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then, using a rubber spoon or spatula, fold the oil into the mixture a little at a time until combined. Gently fold in the mandarin pieces.

Scrape the mixture into a loaf pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean, 45-55 minutes.

Allow to completely cool before serving with whipped cream and candied mandarin sections if desired.