• Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    Hello my loves! I’m back this week with a fun and fancy new cake recipe, because it’s never not the time for cake. This weekend, we hosted my sister’s birthday party in our apartment, and to be honest it felt like an Olympic Sport to me. 25 people in our little apartment? Bring it on. Food and cake and drinks to fill all these people? I’ve got this. After a very successful trip to Trader Joe’s, my biggest concern was making a cake that would provide a slice for everyone. A Sweet D cake was promised in the Facebook invite, so the pressure was on!! Then, earlier in the week I came across a cake recipe that clicked PERFECTLY. Specifically, this cake, which has a surprise visit from my sourdough starter!

    To keep you all updated, last week, I suddenly got very motivated to make my own sourdough starter, despite knowing how much of an undertaking it is. If you’re interested in taking the plunge yourself, I found that this article from King Arthur Flour to be very informative. To give you a brief summary, sourdough starter is made by combining parts of flour and water and allowing it to sit, with daily feedings of more flour and water, so that the natural yeast develops to produce a tangy, flavorful loaf of bread. But sparing you all the intricacies of sourdough making, part of the feeding process is that every day, all but 4 ounces of the starter is discarded before more flour and water is added. It requires a relatively consistent feeding schedule, which is how I ended up getting up at 6:20 every morning to feed my starter before work, like it was a small dog. Good times.

    Now, yes, starter is just flour and water, but throwing out large portions of flour can feel wasteful, so that’s where this cake comes in. Originally a recipe from one of my favorite food writers Posie Harwood, this deeply chocolate cake is both decadent and simple somehow. Now before you get worried that this is more bread than cake, rest assured. The sourdough starter only creates the most moist, intensely flavored cake you’ll ever have. As my sister said, “This is the platonic ideal of a birthday cake”. The original author recommends eating the cake on its own, no need for frosting. I’m sure she’s correct, but since this was a birthday cake, frosting isn’t just wanted, its required.

    I call this shot the “I forgot to take pictures until the cake was almost gone” shot.

    You may remember a few weeks ago when I took a cake decorating class with Claire Saffitz of the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen. If you weren’t here for that, YES that happened and it was glorious. Among the bits and pieces that I took home from that experience was a recipe for Claire’s chocolate cream cheese frosting. I feel silly for saying that I never thought about making a cream cheese frosting that’s anything but vanilla, and now I feel silly because this is DELICIOUS. Together with the cake and this frosting, it’s an unstoppable creation that had multiple guests going back for seconds. Have I tempted you enough yet?

    Before we start obviously, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Discounted Halloween candy on November 1st.
    TWO. A crystal punch bowl set with glasses and a ladle.
    THREE. A well organized cheese plate.
    FOUR. Vintage bar carts.
    FIVE. Pre-sliced carrot and celery sticks with little cups of ranch and hummus.

    Let’s bake!!

    Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    A moist, intensely chocolate cake slathered in maybe the best frosting known to man, you will want to keep sourdough starter at all times for this recipe alone!!
    Prep Time3 hrs
    Cook Time40 mins
    Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: cake, chocolate, cream cheese, frosting, sourdough, sprinkles
    Servings: 24 people (max)

    Ingredients

    Sourdough Chocolate Cake

    • 1 cup discard sourdough starter
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • cup white sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
    • 1 tsp salt
    • tsp baking soda
    • ¾ cup Non-Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
    • 2 eggs

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 6 oz. cream cheese; at room temperature
    • 2 cups confectioners sugar
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
    • pinch salt

    Instructions

    Sourdough Cake

    • In a large mixing bowl (not your stand mixer bowl), combine the milk, sourdough starter, and flour. Stir until all the flour has been moistened, but don't worry about getting out every single lump. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and allow to sit for 2 hours.
    • After the 2 hours is up, preheat your oven to 350°F and generously grease a 9 x 13" baking sheet, then line the bottom with parchment paper for easy release.
    • In your stand mixer or another large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
    • Add the sourdough mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until it's totally combined into the batter. It's very sticky, so it does help to stop the mixer and scrape everything down a few times to make sure everything is incorporated.
    • Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when the top is very shiny, and only slightly bounces back when pushed with your finger. Run a knife or spatula around the sides and allow to cool completely in the pan before frosting or removing from the pan.

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    • In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    • Add in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt, and whip until smooth and evenly combined.
    • Frost the cake as desired- you could leave the cake in the pan and just frost the top, or your could flip the cake out onto a sheet tray and frost all sides. Top with sprinkles, candles, or whatever you want! Now eat up!! YUM!

    Want more cake? Look here, here, here, and here!

  • Roasted Rhubarb Sandwich Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

    TODAY’S THE DAY!! At long last, I bring you our first rhubarb recipe of the season. I know you’re all just as excited as I am right???? Even if you’re not, once you see what’s in store you won’t be able to resist and that’s a fact. Let’s set the scene, shall we? It all started sometime last year, I was perusing my Instagram explore page as one does, and I came across this recipe. Except, as often happens, it was saved and then promptly forgotten about and it was soon buried under all the other recipes I save on a daily basis.

    Cut to two weeks ago, I am once again glued to my Instagram, and what do I see? The very same picture, except now I come to realize that the recipe is from one of my absolute FAVORITE blogs, A Cozy Kitchen! It was meant to be, and I simply had to try them out this time.

    This weekend I watched my sisters while my parents were away, and apart from getting up ungodly early on Saturday to take them to their SATs, I had a lot of free time to mess around with recipes I’d been saving. Obviously I started with this one, and oh boy did we start the weekend off right. The sweet-but-sour roasted rhubarb is such a surprise when sandwiched between a buttery scone dough, and the vanilla bean glaze is DECADENT. The recipe was so perfect that I changed very little, my only wish is that it made three times as many so I could eat these for breakfast forever.

    And how did the rest of the weekend go you ask? Well, I was determined to finally conquer my fear of grocery store seafood counters (is that a thing?), so I found a New York Times recipe for Seared Scallop Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes that seemed perfect. HA. The moment I began to sear my scallops, the ENTIRE house soon filled with smoke. I’m talking fire alarms on both floors, and a smokey haze within 5 minutes. Thank god I had my sisters on hand to open every window in the house and turn on every fan, but I cannot tell what happened! Some comments said don’t use a cast iron skillet, others said you should only use a cast iron skillet (????). I always thought that olive oil smokes easily on high heat, but the recipe requested it!

    Will I try it again? Who’s to say. Just know that if I do, it’s on the grill stovetop outside because I’m sure as hell not going through THAT mess a second time, I’m pretty sure the house will smell like scallops for weeks.

    But anyway, now that that’s settled, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Comfortable silence.
    TWO. Being the only person awake and having the house to yourself for a while.
    THREE. Treating yourself to a face mask.
    FOUR. A house full of plants.
    FIVE. Turning up the air conditioner so that you can keep using a blanket, even in the summer.

    Let’s bake!!

    Roasted Rhubarb Sandwich Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

    The perfect combination of rich vanilla and tart rhubarb, these scones prove that there's more to rhubarb than strawberry rhubarb pie!
    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time25 mins
    Inactive Time20 mins
    Total Time1 hr 15 mins
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: breakfast, dessert, glaze, rhubarb, scone, vanilla bean
    Servings: 6 scones

    Ingredients

    Roasted Rhubarb

    • 2 cups diced rhubarb
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • zest of ½ a lemon

    Scone Dough

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 Tbsp white sugar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp kosher salt
    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter cold
    • 1 cup buttermilk plus more for brushing on top

    Vanilla Bean Glaze

    • cups powdered sugar
    • 5 to 6 Tbsp heavy cream
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • pinch of salt

    Instructions

    Roasted Rhubarb Steps

    • Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and lemon zest until all the rhubarb is coated.
    • Pour onto the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft and juicy. Set aside to cool.

    Scone Dough Steps

    • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter onto a cutting board or plate and add to the flour mixture. Freeze for 5 minutes.
    • Remove the bowl from the freezer and toss the butter pieces with the flour so that they're spread uniformly. Press the butter into the flour with your fingers until it's mixed throughout.
    • Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dough begins to hold together, then dump onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until the dough is fully uniform (about 4 or 5 times, it's important not to overwork this or it will get tough).
    • Press or roll the dough into a ¼" thick rectangle, with one long end closest to you (so it folds hot dog style rather than hamburger style if you know what I mean). Spoon the rhubarb filling onto the front half of the dough, then carefully fold the other half of the dough over the rhubarb filling. Trim the edges so that they're neat and even.
    • Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 6 or 7 large scones and transfer them to your prepared sheet pan. Place the entire pan in the freezer for 15 minutes, while your oven preheats to 400°F.
    • Remove the tray from the freezer, brush the scones with some extra buttermilk and sprinkle with demarara sugar (optional). Bake the scones for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and risen. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before glazing.

    Vanilla Bean Glaze Steps

    • In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, and pinch of salt. Feel free to adjust as you see fit, adding more powdered sugar or heavy cream as necessary. The glaze should be thicker than a normal glaze, just barely pourable so that when you spoon it over a slightly warm scone, it spreads as it melts.

    Notes

    If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, do not fret! Regular vanilla can be substituted just as easily here, as can a whole scraped vanilla bean. Additionally, if rhubarb isn’t your thing, this recipe could just as easily be done with strawberries or blueberries, just adjust the sugar level and baking time as necessary. YUM! xoxoxoxoxo

    Looking for more rhubarb recipes?? Look no further than here, here, and here! Happy baking!

  • Memorial Day Recipe Round-Up

    Can you believe that it’s already Memorial Day Weekend? Honestly I’m a little spooked, where did all of the Spring go?? It’s almost JUNE. Whew okay I’m calm we’re good it’s all good. I’m interrupting my usual Tuesday posting schedule to bring you this special collection of recipe highlights, perfect for a backyard barbecue! Whether you’re hosting a party or just feel like making something new and fun, please enjoy this collection of my 10 most Memorial Day appropriate recipes!!

    ONE. Blueberry Slab Pie

    Do you need dessert for a crowd? Or do you just eat enough pie on your own? Look no further than this masterpiece, it is deceivingly simple to make, because why mess with the flavor of blueberry and pie crust? Also did I mention that slab pies are baked on a sheet pan, crazy easy to slice, and serve up to 20 people? Go make a pie!!!

     

    TWO. Fresh Fruit Tart

    Slightly more labor intensive than a slab pie (only slightly), it’s hard to pass up a tart like this when theres fruit art involved. A crisp tart shell holds a generous portion of rich vanilla pastry cream, and from there the decorating is up to you! Will it be a symmetrical pattern? Or an artful heap? Berries or stone fruit? Or both? It’s up to you!!

     

    THREE. Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcakes

    Did you think I would go an entire rhubarb season without mentioning rhubarb?? Think again!! While a new 2019 rhubarb recipe is on its way, I will tide you over until then with this twist on the classic strawberry shortcake. A buttery biscuit, lightly sweetened soft whipped cream, and a heaping scoop of strawberry rhubarb quick jam becomes a simple yet incredibly flavorful dessert that guests can assemble themselves and take the pressure off you! You’re welcome!!

     

    FOUR. Fried Burrata in Romesco Sauce

    I realize that here on Sweet D I tend to favor dessert recipes, after all, it’s called SWEET D, right? However, this recipe was designed with entertaining in mind, so I’d be crazy not to include it on this list. And while you could eat this whole thing yourself (and I’d be very impressed with you), the best way to eat a ball of fried burrata is surrounded by friends, with a glass of chilled white wine and lots of garlicky bruschetta. Do I need to keep convincing you? I didn’t think so.

     

    FIVE. New York Cheesecake with Roasted Blueberry Sauce

    The best part about this cheesecake recipe, aside from the fact that it could LITERALLY be in a museum, is that the whole thing can be made the day before and kept chilled in the fridge, meaning you have more time with your guests, more time to grill, and more time to eat snacks! Highkey this recipe is one of the most decadent ones on my site, I still think about it at least once a day and you should too.

     

    SIX. Almond Sheet Cake

    You know how every year, Ina Garten makes a Flag Cake using a sheet cake and some berries? Well, here’s your fancy base to a flag cake, the simplest almond cake and frosting which will be a gorgeous and elegant compliment to the fruit on top. A word to the wise- if you choose to make the flag on this cake, use fresh berries only and don’t add any extra sugar to them, the berries will release their juices and make the top of the cake very soggy!

     

    SEVEN. Cornmeal Peach Cobbler

    Okay I know that ~technically~ it’s not peach season yet, but I couldn’t bring myself to look past this perfect cobbler in all its bubbly, fruity glory. Golden cornmeal biscuits are an excellent, slightly salty counterpart to the classic flavor of peach, but if you’re having trouble finding good ripe peaches this time of year, you could always substitute with blueberries, strawberries, or cherries!

     

    EIGHT. Tomato Salad with Burrata

    What’s that? You spent all your time making the desserts on this list and don’t have any food for dinner? Boy have I got good news for you. Enlist one of your guests to be your tomato chopping sous chef, and this salad will be done in 10 minutes. That’s right, TEN. And with the rustic yet glamorous presentation, people will think you put a lot more work into it than you did. Plus, there’s no better combination than mozzarella and tomato, am I right or am I right?

     

    NINE. Mini Pavlovas

    Are you sensing a theme here for these desserts? If you guessed berries, you’d be correct. Personally, nothing screams summer holiday like fresh berries, so it seems only fitting that they keep popping up on this list. While pavlovas are slightly on the challenging side, the payoff is well worth it, there’s nothing quite like the crisp, marshmallow texture of a pavlova with whipped cream and berries.

     

    TEN. Summer Fruit Galettes

    You know that I had to fit one more pie recipe in here, it’s practically in my contract. And what better recipe than the deeply unfussy, rustic pie that doesn’t even require a pie plate? These galettes are easily customizable, easily served, and the best part is you don’t have to sacrifice any of the things you know and love about regular pie to do it. A win-win!

     

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend, I hope it’s filled with all ten of these foods! XoxoxoxoxD